Projects

Standard Missile-6

The Standard Missile-6 (SM-6), also known as RIM-174, is a ship-launched anti-air and anti-surface interceptor missile developed by Raytheon Company.

Type

Ship-launched anti-air and anti-surface terminal ballistic defence missile

Manufacturer

Raytheon

Operator

US Navy

Range

200nmi

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The Standard Missile-6 (SM-6), also known as RIM-174, is a ship-launched anti-air and anti-surface interceptor missile developed by Raytheon Company. The SM-6 is part of Raytheon’s STANDARD missile family, which also includes Standard Missile-1, Standard Missile-2, and Standard Missile-3.

The SM-6 is the first of its kind missile with anti-air, anti-surface, and sea-based terminal defence capabilities, which enable it to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles.

The first SM-6 missile was deployed by the US Navy in December 2013, while approximately 250 SM-6 missiles have been delivered to the US Navy to date.

SM-6 variants

The SM-6 missile is being developed in three variants namely SM-6 Block I, SM-6 Block IA, and SM-6 Dual I.

The SM-6 Block I variant was initially deployed on-board the aegis destroyer, which is built around the aegis combat system. The new variant is powered by a highly sophisticated rocket booster and advanced rocket motors. It has gone through a number of tests and has intercepted a couple of cruise missiles successfully.

The SM-6 Block IA has advanced inbuilt hardware and software systems to overcome the technical glitches involved in the previous variant. It successfully engaged a subsonic cruise missile during a test launch in 2014.

The SM-6 Dual I variant is specifically developed to strike a ballistic missile in the final stages of its flight. It is embedded with dual capability, which enables it to counter both ballistic and cruise missile targets. It will become an integral part of the US Navy’s Sea-Based Terminal programme.

Orders and deliveries of SM-6 missile

The US Navy placed a contract worth $93m with Raytheon for the low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the SM-6 missile in September 2009. The first missile was delivered to the US Navy in April 2011.

In September 2013, Raytheon received a $243m contract to manufacture 89 new SM-6 missiles, enabling the full-rate production of the missile.

Raytheon was awarded a $235m contract by the US Navy to supply the advanced SM-6 missiles and associated spare parts in January 2017. Deliveries of the same are expected to start in 2018. The company’s production centre in Alabama supports the final assembly of SM-6 missiles.

Raytheon secured regulatory approval from the US Department of Defence for exporting SM-6 missiles to the US partner nations across the globe. The company is expected to receive orders from Australia, South Korea, and Japan.

Development and testing of Standard Missile-6

The Block I variant successfully engaged a cruise missile target during an initial test in 2014. It recorded two successful test flights simultaneously in 2015, demonstrating its ability to intercept targets.

The SM-6 Dual I destroyed a short-range ballistic missile target at sea during a first-of-its-kind test in August 2015. Two missiles were successfully test-fired against a medium-range ballistic missile target at sea in December 2016.

In August 2017, the US Navy test-fired a SM-6 Dual I missile from the aegis combat system. The missile successfully destroyed a ballistic missile in its terminal phase.

After deployment in 2013, the SM-6 underwent rigour tests under the US Navy and secured initial operating capability (IOC) in 2013. It is expected to obtain full operational capability (FOC) in 2018.

Standard Missile-6 design and capabilities

The SM-6 is designed as a surface-to-air missile that can be launched from a MK 41 vertical launch system (VLS) canister of a carrier ship. It is an extended range active missile (ERAM) that uses the sophisticated signal processing and guidance technologies of the AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile).

“The SM-6 is the first of its kind missile with anti-air, anti-surface, and sea-based terminal defence capabilities, which enable it to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles.”

The SM-6 missile has a length of 6.6m and diameter of 0.5m. It weighs 1,500kg and carries a 64kg blast fragmentation warhead. The interceptor uses semi-active homing and active homing guidance to achieve accurate engagement of the assigned targets.

Propulsion

The SM-6 missile leverages the first stage propulsion system of Mk 72, which was developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne. It also integrates a moveable nozzle thrust vector control (TVC) system.

The second stage of the propulsion system uses Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Mk 104 dual thrust rocket motor (DTRM).

The Global Missiles and Missile Defence Systems Market 2011-2021

This project forms part of our recent analysis and forecasts of the global missiles and missile defence systems market available from our business information platform Strategic Defence Intelligence. For more information, click here or contact us: EMEA: +44 20 7936 6783; Americas: +1 415 439 4914; Asia Pacific: +61 2 9947 9709, or via email.

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