Raytheon has secured a contract from the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to acquire long-lead materials required to manufacture up to 17 Standard Missile-3 Block IIAs to be used for testing and initial deployment.
In addition to the latest $87m contract, Raytheon is also expected to receive a follow-on contract for the additional materials, parts and components by early 2016.
The 21in-long SM-3 Block IIA weapon features second and third-stage rocket motors and a larger advanced kinetic warhead to destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles in the mid-course phase of flight.
The US and Japan have developed this missile under the SM-3 co-operative development project.
Raytheon Missile Systems president Dr Taylor W Lawrence said: "Our Japanese partners have been tremendous allies in this development programme, and together we’ve taken ballistic missile defence to the next level.
"When the SM-3 Block IIA deploys in 2018, we will have a greater degree of protection than ever before."
Designed as part of phase two of the current administration’s phased adaptive approach for missile defence, the SM-3 Block IIA missile can be launched from ground stations or ships to provide increased engagement capability and greater range.
Standard Missile-3 programme director Amy Cohen said: "The SM-3 Block IIA can be used at sea or on land with no modification to the missile.
"The SM-3 is the only ballistic missile defence interceptor that can be deployed both ways, and that flexibility is a tremendous asset."
The programme is expected to be ready for both land and sea deployment in 2018 as part of Phase III of the US’s phased adaptive approach for missile defence of US deployed forces and allies in Nato Europe.
In June, the Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), Japan MoD and MDA successfully completed the first flight of a SM-3 Block IIA.
The test assessed the missile’s nose cone performance, steering control section function, booster separation, and second and third stage rocket motor separation.
Image: The 21in-long SM-3 Block IIA weapon features second and third-stage rocket motors and a larger advanced kinetic warhead. Photo: courtesy of Raytheon Company.