Flexing missile muscle

Multi-mission SM-6 missile intercepted ballistic target for the second time

Raytheon SM-6 missile

Launched from the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), a Raytheon SM-6 missile intercepted a ballistic missile target at sea on Dec. 14, 2016. (Missile Defense Agency photo) (Download High Resolution Image)

A Raytheon Standard Missile-6 intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target at sea, solidifying its place in an elite group of weapons that can defend against this type of attack.

It marked the second time that an SM-6® missile has demonstrated its ability to intercept a ballistic missile in its final seconds of flight. The first was during a test in August 2015.

The successful test keeps this variant, called SM-6 'Dual 1,' on track for final operating capability. Initial operating capability was achieved earlier this year.

“This test showcased the flexibility of SM-6 by providing both anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense from sea,” said Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. “Combined with its anti-surface warfare capabilities, the SM-6 will play a significant role in protecting U.S. and allied forces at sea and ashore.”

During this exercise, the U.S. Navy fired two SM-6 missiles. One gathered telemetry data and the other intercepted the target.

Deployed on cruisers and destroyers, the SM-6 missile currently provides the U.S. Navy fleet with air defense against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and land-attack, anti-ship cruise missiles in flight. The Navy also tested the missile against surface targets earlier this year.

The SM-6 missile combines the Standard Missile airframe and propulsion elements with the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities of Raytheon’s AMRAAM® air-to-air missile.

"U.S. Navy commanders want both capability and flexibility to meet a wide variety of missions, and that’s exactly what SM-6 offers," Lawrence said.

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2016 SM-6 missile test (Aviation Week)

Published On: 12/19/2016
Last Updated: 07/16/2018