Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, has been awarded an $867 million missile defense agency contract to deliver SM-3 Block IIAs to the US and its partners.
The SM-3 interceptor is a defensive weapon the US Navy uses to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
The interceptor uses sheer force, rather than an explosive warhead, to destroy targets in space.
Its “kill vehicle” hits threats with the force of a 10-ton truck traveling 600 mph. This technique, referred to as “hit-to-kill,” has been likened to intercepting a bullet with another bullet, according to the company.
Raytheon noted that the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor’s kinetic warhead has been enhanced, improving the search, discrimination, acquisition and tracking functions, to address advanced and emerging threats.
The missile intercepted an advanced ballistic missile threat in its first live target test in early 2017.
In 2020, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and US Navy sailors aboard the USS John Finn (DDG-113), an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System-equipped destroyer, successfully intercepted and destroyed a target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile.
“The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor was developed in partnership with Japan, and it features a larger rocket motor and kinetic warhead that allow it to defend broader areas from long-range ballistic missile threats,” said Tay Fitzgerald, president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.
“Our strong cooperation with Japanese industry was essential to the development of this next-generation solution that can defeat complex threats around the world from sea and land.”