PACIFIC OCEAN (June 22, 2007) – A Standard Missile (SM-3) is launched from the Aegis combat system equipped Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) during a Missile Defense Agency ballistic missile flight test. Minutes later the SM-3 intercepted a separating ballistic missile threat target, launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. It was the first time such a test was conducted from a ballistic missile defense equipped-US Navy destroyer. The previous flight tests were conducted from US Navy cruisers. The maritime capability is designed to intercept short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the midcourse phase of flight. USS Decatur is one of 18 US Navy ships (three cruisers and 15 destroyers) that will be identically equipped, by early 2009, with the ballistic missile defense capabilities of conducting long-range surveillance/tracking and launching the SM-3 missile. (US Navy Photo/Released)

[Image courtesy of the US Navy Website.]