The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted Raytheon Missile Systems to supply Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB missiles.

Under the $2.3bn contract, Raytheon will develop, test, and deliver 52 SM-3 Block IB missiles, as well as provide related support, and execute recertification efforts.

The contract finalises a preliminary $541m contract awarded to Raytheon in April for the supply of 44 SM-3 Block IB missiles, and adds eight additional missiles for a total of 52 units.

The task order also comprises three one-year options for 2016 through 2018, with an option to purchase additional 52 missiles and annual support.

Work under the contract will be carried out in Tucson, Arizona, and Huntsville, Alabama, US. It is scheduled for completion on 30 September 2021.

The SM-3 missile is designed to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats in space, with an impact equivalent to a 10t truck travelling at 600mph.

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"The SM-3 missile is designed to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats in space."

The Block IB includes an enhanced, two-colour infrared seeker, the Throttleable Divert and Attitude Control system, which is a mechanism that propels the missile toward incoming targets.

The Missile Defence Agency (MDA) and the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency recently tested a land-based Aegis BMD weapon system, as well as the SM-3 Block IB threat upgrade guided missile.

The SM-3 Block IB is currently scheduled for deployment in Romania.

The development is part of the second phase of the phased adaptive approach, which is the US missile defence plan in Europe.

Image: An SM-3 missile fired to intercept the NRO-L 21 satellite. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo.