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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.

In 2013, the SM-3 Block IB successfully finished a highly lauded, aggressive testing schedule putting the program's record of space intercepts at 26. More than 155 Standard Missile-3 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.

Raytheon is on track to deliver the next-generation SM-3 Block IB in 2015. It will be deployed in both sea-based and land-based modes.

SM-3 Block IIA
The new Standard Missile-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 is on track to begin flight testing in 2015.

Land-based SM-3
SM-3 can be either sea or land based. For countries that do not have a ballistic missile defense-enabled navy, but still have ballistic missile defense requirements, land-based SM-3 is a viable solution.

Land-based SM-3 is a good value, because it protects larger areas with fewer interceptor sites when compared to lower tier missile defense solutions. In addition, the missile's higher intercepts allow extra time for decision making.

Learn more about Raytheon's Missile Defense Solutions.

2013 Year-in-Review

SM-3 Block IA destroys medium-range ballistic missile target using remote satellite cue

Raytheon's dual-band datalink tested with Thales radar

SM-3 Block IB destroys complex, separating short-range ballistic missile target

Raytheon delivers first SM-3 from its new Alabama missile integration facility

SM-3 Block IA destroys medium-range ballistic missile target during operational test

US Navy launches two SM-3 Block IBs against single ballistic missile target; target destroyed

SM-3 Block IB destroys medium range ballistic missile target; completes initial operational testing

SM-3 Block IIA completes critical design review; program moves from design to build

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Feature Stories

The Warhead Hunters

U.S. Navy Test Doubles Defense to Meet Modern Missile Threats

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

Bigger & Better: The Evolution of a Ballistic Missile Killer

Raytheon goes 5-for-5 in Standard Missile-3 Intercept Tests

Factory of the Future is Key to Missile Defense

New, Larger Standard Missile-3 Moves From Design to Testing

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

U.S. Military Driving Towards Effective Ballistic And Cruise Missile Defenses (Lexington Institute)

U.S. Aegis system zaps cruise, ballistic missile targets in test (Reuters)

U.S. Missile Defense Agency Intercepts Three Targets in "Raid" Test (Space News)

U.S. Aegis system zaps cruise, ballistic missile targets in test (Reuters)

Defense ministry mulls introducing ground-based SM-3 interceptor missiles (Mainichi)

Why Raytheon Dumped a Decades-Old Way to Make Missiles (CNET)

News Releases

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

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-3 Block IB for first time

Standard Missile-3 IIA completes Critical Design Review

Related Information

Air and Missile Defense Overview

Missile Defense Agency (MDA)