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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.

May 20, 2014 Aegis Ashore Play Video
The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy launch a Standard Missile-3 Block IB guided missile from the Aegis Ashore Weapon System in Kauai, Hawaii.

Land Based SM-3
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.

The U.S. Aegis Ashore missile defense system at the Naval Support Facility in Deveselu, Romania is expected to be fully operational in late 2015. (Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
The U.S. Aegis Ashore missile defense system at the Naval Support Facility in Deveselu, Romania is expected to be fully operational in 2016. (Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

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 240 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. It became operational in 2014, deploying for the first time on U.S. Navy ships worldwide.

SM-3 Block IIA
The next-generation 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 began flight testing in 2015 to keep the program on track for 2018 deployment at sea and on land in Poland.

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The Evolution of Standard Missile-3

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Feature Stories

Continental defense - Strengthening a layered missile defense to protect Europe

Maritime security in the Middle East - At DIMDEX, Raytheon offers protection from sea to shore to sky

Freedom of the seas - Distributed lethality arms U.S. Navy with offensive capability

From land or by sea - Tests demonstrate the many capabilities of Raytheon's SM-3 interceptor

SM-3 interceptor tested off European coast for first time - Raytheon Standard Missile-3 destroys ballistic target in multinational exercise

Missile defense expands globally - Patriot contracts, Standard Missile-3 deployments keep skies covered

U.S. Navy test doubles defense to meet modern missile threats - Multiple Launches Destroy Ballistic and Cruise Missile Targets

Bigger & better: The evolution of a ballistic missile killer

The Warhead Hunters - Meet some of the engineers behind an amazing missile defense system

Inside the Space Factory - Lab gears up for next missile-destroying “kill vehicle”

Land-based launcher fires Navy's Standard Missile-3 - Key step taken toward interceptor's European deployment

Photo Gallery

SM-3 Photo Gallery Launch Gallery


FTO-02 E1a Flight TestPlay Video

FTO-02 E1a Flight Test

CTV-02 Flight TestPlay Video

CTV-02 Flight Test

SM-3 VideoPlay Video

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

Media Coverage

Demand for Raytheon missile killers may drive Tucson expansion (Arizona Daily Star)

First intercept test of new SM-3 variant set for October (Space News)

MDA awards Raytheon $523 million contract for SM-3 variant (Space News)

Raytheon's Alabama-made missiles on display and in demand at Farnborough Air Show (AL.com)

Aegis Ashore, armed with Raytheon’s Standard Missile-3, declared operational in Romania (SDArabia)

VIDEO: The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency will test-fire its new larger SM-3 IIA interceptor missile in space (Scout)

Upgrade to SM-3 missile engines validated (UPI)

Navy morphing LCS from ugly duckling into fighting bantam (Lexington Institute)

PACOM Commander Harris supports study of Aegis missile defense for Hawaii (Stars and Stripes)

U.S. weighs making Hawaii missile test site operational - sources (Reuters)

New SM-3 variant faces two intercept tests this year (Space News)

The time is now (Missile Defence Advocacy Alliance)

Raytheon shares insights on the emerging U.S. Multi-Object Kill Vehicle programme (Military Technology)

VIDEO: At sea demonstration 2015 (QinetiQ)

VIDEO: Navy leads 9-nation ballistic missile defense test (Scout)

U.S. Navy, allies intercept targets in European missile test (Reuters)

Raytheon to gather long-lead components for missile interceptor (UPI)

News Releases

Raytheon receives $523 million for Standard Missile-3 production and delivery

Standard Missile-3 flight test validates engineering upgrade

Land-based SM-3 demonstrates first ballistic missile intercept supported by AN/TPY-2 radar

Raytheon receives $543 million for SM-3 Block IIA production and delivery

U.S. succeeds in next flight test of advanced missile defense interceptor

Related Information

Missile Defense Overview

Missile Defense Agency (MDA)