SM-3 is the only ballistic missile interceptor that can be launched on land and at sea. It is deployed worldwide and has achieved more than 30 exoatmospheric intercepts against ballistic missile targets.
“This procurement deal is a win-win for government and industry. Efficiencies gained from this contract will allow us to reduce costs, continue to improve the SM-3 and deliver an important capability to our military.”
Dr. Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Strategic and Naval Systems vice president
The Block IB variant achieved full-rate production in 2017. The company has delivered more than 400 SM-3 rounds over the lifetime of the program.
About SM-3 interceptor
The SM-3 interceptor is a defensive weapon the U.S. Navy uses to destroy 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.
Compared to previous variant of the missile (like the SM-3 Block IB), the Block IIA variant features a larger rocket motor and a larger kinetic interceptor. he SM-3 Block IIA is designed to destroy SRBM (short range ballistic missile) and IRBM (intermediate-range ballistic missiles). It is a joint development project started in 2006 by Raytheon and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The MDA awarded Raytheon a $1 billion SM-3 Block IIA contract in December 2019. Earlier that year, the U.S. State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of up to 73 SM-3 Block IIA missiles for an estimated cost of $3.295 billion. In Japan, the missile will equip the AEGIS Ashore and new Maya-class destroyers.
The MDA, U.S. Navy and Raytheon are set to put the SM-3 Block IIA through its paces by testing the interceptor against an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time.