In a dramatic first, the US Navy utilized Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptors to defend Israel from a barrage of Iranian ballistic missiles.

This weekend’s engagement marks a turning point for the SM-3 program, validating its capabilities after years of development and testing.

Destroyers Take Center Stage: A Shield at Sea

Stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean, the destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) and USS Carney (DDG-64) emerged as the frontline defense in this historic event.

These 500-foot (152-meter) warships, equipped with the Aegis combat system specifically modified to track and target ballistic missiles, became a crucial shield at sea for Israel.

According to US defense officials, these warships launched a total of four to seven SM-3s to neutralize the incoming Iranian threats.

The Aegis system, the brain of these destroyers, utilizes the powerful SPY-1D radar to detect and track incoming threats.

Once a ballistic missile launch is identified, the Aegis system guides the SM-3 missiles toward their targets with pinpoint accuracy.

This intricate dance between the Aegis system and the SM-3 missiles is a testament to the Navy’s technological advancements in missile defense.