The U.S. military has conducted several exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) tests with the SM-3, according to Raytheon, but this is the first acknowledged to be successful at destroying a target in space.


How much does all of this cost? The latest request from the Missile Defense Agency for this particular missile defense system was $1.8 billion for next year alone, according to a November 11 report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

“This was an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Block IIA program,” Missile Defense Agency director, Vice Admiral Jon Hill, said in a press release.


“The Department is investigating the possibility of augmenting the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system by fielding additional sensors and weapon systems to hedge against unexpected developments in the missile threat,” Hill continued.

“We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target, which is a step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of an architecture for layered defense of the homeland. My congratulations to the entire test team, including our military and industry partners, who helped us to achieve this milestone.”