The United States Navy might be stuck in 2001 with Windows XP, but it knows how to fire off state-of-the-art missiles.
Six Navy warships live-fired Standard Missiles 2 (SM-2) in a test of the Aegis weapons system on Tuesday, part of the Eisenhower Strike Group Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTEUX), which is the last certification for the ships before they are deployed. The resulting video shows one of the most advanced air defense weapons available.
SM-2s shoot off in excess of 1,500 mph — twice the speed of sound. Their sole purpose is to seek out and destroy everything from supersonic bombers to high-maneuvering helicopters. The missiles can hit a target up to 90 miles out at altitudes as high as 65,000 feet (a little over 12 miles). Good luck sneaking up on a ship packing that much range.
The Navy’s warships have been in some controversy in recent months — one of its $400 million “future of naval warfare” vessels is debatably not worth the sticker price. But on the weapons front, it is ahead of the curve: the Navy hopes to outdate the SM-2s by 2018 with railguns — more advanced than the railguns you make at home — that shoot projectiles 30 miles in around 20 seconds.
Until then though, these SM-2s are more than capable of keeping the country’s ships safe, and they make for a pretty great missile-launch video compilation too.