A next-gen ballistic missile killer

Raytheon Standard Missile-3 aces intercept flight test

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Raytheon’s Standard Missile-3 Block IIA completed its first successful intercept flight test on Feb. 3, 2017, at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo: Missile Defense Agency) (Download high-resolution image)

The evolving ballistic missile threat calls for a larger, more advanced defense interceptor.

Enter the Standard Missile-3 interceptor, which destroys attacking ballistic missiles in space using nothing more than sheer impact, equivalent to a ten-ton truck moving at 600 miles per hour.

The U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency have completed the first successful flight test of Raytheon's SM-3 Block IIA interceptor. Launched from the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), the interceptor engaged and destroyed a target resembling an advanced ballistic missile threat. The test took place on Feb. 3 off the coast of Hawaii.

“The SM-3 Block IIA program continues to reflect the MDA’s commitment to maturing this regional missile defense capability for the defense of our nation, its deployed forces and our allies abroad,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. “This test success keeps the program on track for deployment at sea and ashore in the 2018 timeframe, building on Raytheon’s unequalled 15-year history of exo-atmospheric intercepts.”

The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is a product of a cooperative partnership between the United States and Japan. It features larger rocket motors and a bigger, more capable kinetic warhead to engage threats sooner and protect larger regions from short-to-intermediate-range ballistic missile threats, with greater operational flexibility. 

“Our partnership with Japan and Japanese industry has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Dr. Mitch Stevison, president of Raytheon’s Air and Missile Defense Systems. “Together, we are moving the needle on the most sophisticated missile defense technologies.”

The SM-3 IIA was previously flown in successful test demonstrations, both without target intercepts, to evaluate the missile in flight and prepare for this intercept test. This success paves the way for a 2018 deployment.

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Published On: 02/06/2017
Last Updated: 01/26/2018