Yesterday the Guided Missile Cruiser, USS Lake Erie, launched a STANDARD Missile 3 at a failed spy satellite that was falling out of orbit. The Lake Erie scored a direct hit.
I worked on the STANDARD Missile program for over 19 years. I never had the opportunity to work directly on the SM-3 Program. I spent most of my career on the SM-2 precursor. But I loved seeing the old program have this kind of success.
I hear a lot of people complaining about the cost of this exercise, around 30 million dollars. There is also a lot of hand wringing about what the rest of the world is going to think. It seems that a lot of people are worried that the rest of the world is going to see this as a threat. I think that the world would be yelling a lot louder if we let this satellite fall out of the sky and its fuel tank full of hydrazine didn't burn up in the atmosphere.
If the rest of the world takes a close look at this shot and sees that we fired one shot and hit a school bus sized object that was 150 miles away and moving 17,000 mph and decides that maybe they should not try shooting at us then I'm all for this kind of show boating. It doesn't do much good to stand around telling the world that we have missile defense capabilities if we don't have the ability to occasionally step up and prove it.
Gen James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provides further information related to this successful operation in a longer video.
Note this video is about 27 minutes long and may take a while to download.