When North Korea disclosed its planned satellite launch earlier this month, Japan put its ballistic missile defenses on alert.
Tokyo warned that it would take “destructive measures against ballistic and other missiles that are confirmed to land in our territory,” referring to its Standard Missile‑3 (SM‑3) and Patriot Missile PAC‑3 which would be used to take out a North Korean missile.
The American ship-based surface-to-air missile system was designed to intercept short and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
As part of the Aegis Weapon System, SM-3s are unique since they are the only Standard Missile engineered to function in the vacuum of space. Today, the SM‑3 interceptor is carried by U.S. Navy ships positioned off Europe’s coast.
Introducing the SM‑3
The SM‑3 interceptor is derived from the older SM‑2 Block IV design, which …