20:25 GMT17 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Japanese navy, in its first test of an upgraded ship-launched SM-3 interceptor rocket, successfully destroyed a ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean, the US defense contractor Raytheon announced in a press release on Wednesday.

    "A Raytheon Company SM-3 Block IB missile intercepted a ballistic missile target, marking the first time Japan has tested the sophisticated interceptor," the release said.

    In the Japanese test, the target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, and the interceptor was launched from the Japanese ship Atago, verifying the destroyer’s capability of deploying the latest version of the SM-3, the release explained.

    The SM-3 interceptor is a defensive weapon deployed to destroy enemy rockets with a direct hit rather than an explosive warhead, according to the contractor.

    Japan currently employs the SM-3 Block IA interceptor, but the IB variant's improved seeker and upgraded control system enables engagements with a larger set of threats, the release noted.

    READ MORE: Japan Deploys New Kawasaki C-2 Military Transport Aircraft to Local Airbase


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    navy, test, SM-3 Block IB missile, Raytheon, Japan
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