The USS Lake Erie, positioned off the coast of Hawaii, detected and tracked the missile with its onboard radar. The ship, equipped with a second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, launched the SM-3 Block IB missile in response.
Using only the force of a direct impact, it collided with and destroyed the target in space in a so-called hit-to-kill intercept.
The SM-3 is used to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The newest model, dubbed Block IB, incorporates an enhanced two-color infrared seeker and a mechanism that uses short bursts of precision propulsion to steer the missile toward incoming targets.