Military Embedded Systems

Navy SM-3 missile from Raytheon takes out ballistic missile target off coast of Hawaii


June 29, 2012

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY, KAUAI, Hawaii. A Standard Missile-3 Block IB from Raytheon was fired by personnel on the USS Lake Erie and destroyed another ballistic missile target during a recent test, that marked the 21st intercept for the SM-3 program.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai launched the Target. The USS Lake Erie, deployed off the Hawaii coast, picked up the threat on its SPY-1 radar then launched the SM-3 Block IB in response. Via sheer kinetic force from a massive collision, the SM-3 Block IB destroyed the threat target in space.

The SM-3 is part of the U.S. Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense. Raytheon is continuing to enhance test scenario complexity as they demonstrate the SM-3 Block IB against more advanced threats, says Dr. Taylor Lawrence, President at Raytheon Missile Systems. "

The U.S. Navy uses the SM-3 to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The latest variant, the SM-3 Block IB, integrates an improved two-color infrared seeker and the Throttleable Divert and Attitude Control System, which is a mechanism that uses short bursts of precision propulsion to steer missiles toward incoming targets.

The SM-3 destroys incoming ballistic missile threats by colliding with them, which is sometimes described as "hitting a bullet with a bullet," according to a Raytheon release. At impact the result is the equivalent of a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph.

Raytheon officials expect to deliver the next-generation SM-3 Block IB in 2015. The SM-3 Block IB will be used in land-based and sea-based modes.


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