Raytheon Standard Missile-3 Intercept Challenging Ballistic Missile Target
A Raytheon Co.-produced Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) destroyed a ballistic missile target outside the earth atmosphere during a Missile Defense Agency/Aegis Ballistic Defense (BMD) Program flight test over the Pacific Ocean. It was the sixth successful intercept for the Aegis BMD program using the SM-3. The November 17 mission was the first test against a separate ballistic missile target. The SM-3 Block I initial deployment round used in the test was an operational missile delivered by Raytheon last year for testing and availability for emergency deployment. In the operationally realistic scenario, the SM-3 was launched from the USS Lake Erie, an Aegis BMD cruiser, and hit the target missile that had been launched from the US Navy’s Pacific Missile range facility on Kauai, HI. The ship’s crew was not informed of the target launch time and operational testers observed the exercise to ensure a realistic wartime environment. “SM-3 continues to perform flawlessly in increasingly challenging scenarios. This test, using a missile right from the Navy’s inventory, was conducted in operational conditions,” said Edward Miyashiro, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president, Naval Weapons Systems. “Continued success provides confidence that the nation can increase the number of systems deployed and make missile capability improvements. We are even seeing our international allies taking a closer look at SM-3 for their homeland defense. Sea-based ballistic missile defense provides a global capability.” Japan has decided to procure SM-3 and the Aegis system for its Kongo class ships. Raytheon’s Missile Systems business in Tucson, AZ, is developing SM-3 and leads the integrated team effort, which includes Alliant Techsystems, Aerojet and the Boeing Co.