The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said it successfully tested a missile interceptor off the coast of Southern California near Malibu on Tuesday.

The test of the new Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missile– the second successful test conducted – was made in partnership with the defense ministry of Japan.

An unidentified source revealed that the missile opened its new sensor seeker for the first time in space, as well as used new altitude control rockets for targeting a star.

“No intercept was planned for this test and no target missile was launched, but several intercept tests will following in coming years,” stated a media report quoting the source.

The missile launch location was San Nicolas Island, in the Point Mugu Sea Range, with officials using telemetry and other data for evaluation its performance.

The tested missile is a 21-inch version of a previous SM-3 missile. It works in combination with the Lockheed Martin Corp-made U.S. Aegis combat system to annihilate incoming ballistic missile with the potential to hit in space.

The test also heralds its deployment in coming years on U.S. Aegis destroyers and the Kongo ships of partner-country Japan, along with the U.S. Aegis Ashore location in 2018 in Poland.

In addition, it validated the sensor seeker created for the redesigned kinetic warhead or kill vehicle that will later replace those presently used on ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska – all part of the country’s own missile defense system.

The new missile boasts of a more able kill vehicle and bigger rocket motors, allowing it more quickly engage threats and better protect from ballistic missile threats, whether of medium or intermediate range and in larger areas.

The missile defense agency said that the SM-3 IIA weapons program cost the U.S. more than $2 billion while Japan spent $1 billion.

The missile was created by Raytheon Co and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with Raytheon delivering over 240 SM-3s to the navy of both the U.S. and Japan.

Following the second flight test, the American defense agency placed a $543-million order for 17 of Raytheon’s SM-3 interceptors.

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