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Standard Missile-3

SM-3 Interceptor

Standard Missile-3 – World's only ballistic missile killer deployable on land or at sea.

The SM-3® interceptor is a defensive weapon used by the U.S. Navy to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. This "hit-to-kill" interceptor uses a "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 an SM-3® Block IB guided missile from the Aegis Ashore Weapon System in Kauai, Hawaii.

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

The flexibility of the SM-3 interceptor to be both land- and sea-based offers countries that do not have ballistic missile defense-enabled navies to take advantage of the incredible capacity to protect large areas of land. This is often referred to as regional defense. The SM-3 missile can cover larger areas with fewer installations, 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 became fully operational in 2016. (Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

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

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 Interceptor
The SM-3 Block IB interceptor 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 Interceptor
The next-generation SM-3 Block IIA interceptor 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.

The Block IIA variant is the centerpiece of the European missile defense system. Raytheon began flight testing in 2015 to keep the program on track for 2018 deployment at sea and on land in Poland.

InfographicLaunch Infographic

Evolution of the SM-3® interceptor

Learn more about Raytheon's Missile Defense Solutions.

This document does not contain technology or technical data controlled under either the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations or the U.S. Export Administration Regulations. E16-FYZ2

 

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