The Government of Japan has requested to buy up to fifty-six (56) Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB missiles. Also included are missile canisters, U.S. Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $1.150 billion.
These missiles are likely intended to be fitted on the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Aegis destroyers such as the four Kongo-class, the two Atago-class or the future two Maya-class of destroyers.
These missile could also be deployed from the Aegis Ashore system recently procured by Japan. The U.S. Department of State approved the sale of two such batteries to Japan in January. They will be installed in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures and are set to be operational from 2025.
According to its developper and manufacturer Raytheon, The SM-3 interceptor is a defensive weapon the U.S. Navy uses to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The interceptor uses sheer force, rather than an explosive warhead, to destroy its target. Its “kill vehicle” hits threats with the force of a 10-ton truck traveling 600 mph. This technique, referred to as “hit-to-kill,” has been likened to intercepting a bullet with another bullet.
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
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 interceptor most recently participated in an international NATO-led exercise simulating real-life threat scenarios. Strong cooperation between allied nations and industry helps ensure readiness to defeat complex threats around the world.