The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of the potential $821m foreign military sale (FMS) of Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIB, equipment and support to Japan.
Under the FMS, Japan has requested for up to 246 SM-2, Block IIIB vertical launching tactical all-up rounds, RIM-66M-09.
Approved by the US State Department, the potential sale also covers MK 13 MOD 0 vertical launching system canisters, operator manuals and technical documentation, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services.
Raytheon and BAE Systems will serve as the principal contractors for the sale.
The SM-2 Block IIIB missiles will be fitted on Japan’s two new Aegis-equipped destroyers, which are being built based on a modified Atago-class hull.
The missiles can be combined with the Aegis combat system to boost Japan’s area defence capabilities over critical east Asian and western Pacific air and sea-lines of communication.
Japan has already installed SM-2 Block IIIA/IIIB missiles on its four Kongo-class and two Atago-class destroyers, and has two intermediate-level maintenance facilities that can maintain the SM-2 Block IIIB missiles.
The Raytheon-built SM-2 Block IIIB missile is a fleet-area air defence weapon designed to provide protection against anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft.
The missile features advanced semi-active radar seeker technologies, tail controls and solid rocket motor propulsion, an active radar target detection device and a directional warhead.
The missile system is currently deployed on-board the US Navy's Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and is launched from the MK 41 vertical launcher system (VLS).
Image: Launch of RIM 66M missile from Spanish frigate Canarias. Photo: courtesy of Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Johansen Laurel.