US Navy Debuts SM-3 Ballistic Missile Interceptor During Iranian Strikes - M5 Dergi
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US Navy Debuts SM-3 Ballistic Missile Interceptor During Iranian Strikes

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US Navy guided missile destroyers fired the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) for the first time in combat over the weekend in response to Iran’s attack on Israel.

USS Arleigh Burke and USS Carney fired four to seven SM-3s to intercept Iranian ballistic missiles, USNI News revealed citing unnamed defense officials.

Aegis Combat System

The Aegis combat system onboard the ships fired the interceptors, which feature an exo-atmospheric kinetic warhead to intercept incoming missiles through sheer force.

The SM variant has been in service for more than a decade but has never been used in combat.

“Until you use it in combat, there are always questions,” USNI News quoted missile analyst Chris Carlson as saying.

Iranian Ballistic Missiles

It’s unclear what missiles Iran used in the attack, which resulted in minor damage only. However, because the US used SM-3s to intercept them, it’s likely Tehran used some of its medium-range ballistic missiles that have a range of up to 1,800 miles (2,897 kilometers), according to Carlson.

Both US warships were placed off the coast of Israel for the anticipated strikes in retaliation for an Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria that killed 16.

The Burke was one of four US Navy destroyers originally stationed at Roka, Spain, as part of the Aegis-based European Phased Adaptive Approach to protect the continent from Iranian ballistic missiles.

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