Raytheon has been awarded a $230m contract by the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to deliver Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block I missile variants to strengthen the country’s inventory.
Under the contract, the company will deliver 14 SM-3 Block IA and five SM-3 Block IB missiles for use aboard the US and Japanese Navy ships.
Developed as part of MDA’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence system phased adaptive approach, the SM-3 Block IB features an enhanced two-colour infrared seeker, as well as throttleable divert and attitude control system, which uses short bursts of precision propulsion to guide the projectile toward incoming targets.
In June, the missile validated its capability to engage and destroy the target in space for the second time, marking the 21st successful interception for the SM-3 programme.
The SM-3 missile is deployed on Aegis cruisers and destroyers to provide protection against short-to-intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the midcourse phase of flight.
SM-3 Block IA missiles are currently installed on Kongo-class ships, which are in service with the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF).
The company had also received a separate $925m contract in July for the development and delivery of a next-generation SM-3 Block IIA missile.
Developed on the basis of the first two variants, SM-3 Block IA and SM-3 Block IB missiles, the SM-3 Block IIA anti-ballistic weapon is scheduled for deployment in 2018.
To date, more than 135 SM-3 missiles have been delivered by the company to the US and Japanese navies on schedule and within budget.
Image: A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) being launched from the US Navy’s Aegis equipped destroyer. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.