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Standard Missile-3

Standard Missile-3

Standard Missile-3 is the world's only ballistic missile killer deployable on land or at sea.

SM-3® is a defensive weapon used by the U.S. Navy to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. This 'hit-to-kill' missile interceptor uses an exoatmospheric "kill vehicle," to collide with targets in space, a capability that's been likened to hitting a bullet with a bullet. The massive collision of the kill vehicle hitting its target obliterates the threat completely; explosives are not necessary. The resulting impact is the equivalent of a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph.

FTM-25 Video Play Video

Nov. 6, 2014 - The Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy conducted a flight test (FTM-25) of the Ballistic Missile Defense system, resulting in three successful near-simultaneous target engagements over the Pacific Ocean.

The SM-3 program is a critical piece of the United States' Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense. Currently, U.S. Navy ships carrying SM-3s deployed off Europe's coast provide the continent's only "upper tier" defense from the growing threat of ballistic missiles. Starting this year, the first land-based SM-3 site will become operational in Romania, further enhancing Europe's protection

The flexibility of SM-3 to be both land- and sea-based offers countries that do not have ballistic missile defense-enabled navies to take advantage of the SM-3's incredible capacity to protect large areas of land, often referred to as regional defense, with fewer interceptor sites when compared to other "lower tier" missile defense solutions.

Standard Missile-3 is the world's only ballistic missile killer deployable on land or at sea.
Standard Missile-3 is the world's only ballistic missile killer deployable on land or at sea.

Whether on land or at sea, the SM-3 continues to excel in testing. In 2014, the SM-3 Block IB was successfully launched for the first time from an Aegis Ashore testing site in Hawaii. Later in the year, an SM-3 destroyed a short-range ballistic missile target during a highly complex integrated air and missile defense exercise in the Pacific.

The program has more than 25 successful space intercepts, and more than 200 interceptors have been delivered to U.S. and Japanese navies.

SM-3 Block IB
The SM-3 Block IB has an enhanced two-color infrared seeker and upgraded steering and propulsion capability that uses short bursts of precision propulsion to direct the missile toward incoming targets.

The next-generation SM-3 Block IB became operational in 2014, deploying for the first time on U.S. Navy ships worldwide.

SM-3 Block IIA
The new SM-3 Block IIA is being developed in cooperation with Japan and will be deployable on land as well as at sea. It has two distinct new features: larger rocket motors that will allow it to defend broader areas from ballistic missile threats and a larger kinetic warhead.

SM-3 Block IIA is the centerpiece of the European missile defense system, and Raytheon Company will begin flight testing in 2015 to keep the program on track for 2018 deployment at sea and on land in Poland.

Learn more about Raytheon's Missile Defense Solutions.


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Feature Stories

Missile defense expands globally

Bigger & better: The evolution of a ballistic missile killer

Raytheon completes $9.2 million Space Factory expansion

The Warhead Hunters

U.S. Navy test doubles defense to meet modern missile threats

Land-based launcher fires Navy's Standard Missile-3

Inside the Space Factory

Raytheon goes 5-for-5 in Standard Missile-3 intercept tests

Photo Gallery

SM-3 Photo Gallery Launch Gallery


SM-3 VideoPlay Video

Raytheon's ballistic missile defense systems provide layered defense around the world.

Riki Ellison on Aegis Ashore Play Audio

Listen to an interview with Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance Chairman Riki Ellison on Aegis Ashore.


Infographic Launch Infographic

The Evolution of
Standard Missile 3

Media Coverage

Guided missiles: Arizona's most high-tech company (The Arizona Republic)

Alabama rockets on (Aviation Week)

Raytheon SM-3 makes landfall in Europe (Aviation Week)

Raytheon pushes long-range missile defense with SM-3 missiles, TPY-2 radars (Aviation International News)

U.S.-Japan interceptor makes its first flight (Space News)

Navy, Missile Defense Agency, Japan conduct first flight test of Standard Missile-3 Block IIA (USNI)

U.S., Japan say first test of Raytheon's new SM-3 missile a success (Reuters)

Raytheon gets $559 million missile contract; work finalized at Redstone Arsenal (Huntsville Times)

Destroyer simultaneously fires SM-2 and SM-3 missiles (UPI)

Aegis Ashore successfully launches Raytheon's SM-3 missile (Naval-technology.com)

Raytheon eyes early SM-3 IIA builds (Aviation Week)

Raytheon wins $350M for missile interceptors (Arizona Daily Star)

News Releases

U.S. begins flight testing advanced missile defense interceptor

Raytheon awarded $559 million for SM-3 Block IB

Combatant Commanders gain new ballistic missile defense capability through 'threat upgrade' software

Raytheon Missile Systems named Alabama Manufacturer of the Year

SM-3, SM-2s take on ballistic, cruise missile targets during simulated missile 'raid' attack exercise

Aegis Ashore launches Standard Missile-3 for first time

Related Information

Missile Defense Overview

Missile Defense Agency (MDA)