Raytheon Missile Systems has received an initial USD87 million contract from the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to acquire long-lead materials required to produce up to 17 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IIA hit-to-kill interceptors.
Awarded in July, but formally announced at DSEI by Raytheon (Stand S9-230), the contract opens the procurement process for the Block IIA programme − a jointly funded initiative, designated SM-3 Cooperative Development (SCD), between the MDA and the Japanese Ministry of Defence. A follow-on contract for additional SM-3 Block IIA materials, parts and components is expected by early 2016.
The initial rounds acquired under the contract will be used for further system testing, and could potentially provide an initial SM-3 Block IIA capability for the second Aegis Ashore facility in Poland, under Phase 3 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) ballistic missile defence initiative. Block IIA is intended for land and sea deployments from 2018, and will be integrated with the latest Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 5.1 weapon system modification for EPAA Phase III.
An initial system test was conducted at the White Sands Missile Range in October 2013 to validate that the round could be safely launched with a Mk 72 booster from the Mk 41 vertical launch system. This was followed by the first non-intercept flight test of the round − designated SM-3 Block IIA Cooperative Development Controlled Test Vehicle-1 (CTV-1) − at the Point Mugu Sea Range on San Nicolas Island in California on 6 June this year.
Kenyon Hiser, SM-3 Block IIA programme director, told the DSEI Daily that CTV-2 will be conducted later this year, while SM-3 Block IIA Co-Development Flight Test Mission-1 (SFTM-1) and SFTM-2 flight tests with Aegis BMD 5.1 are planned for late 2016. ‘‘The MDA will then conduct additional testing in 2017 with the rounds procured from this contract in an effort to complete integration with the Aegis BMD Weapon System and to prepare for deployment,’’ Hiser said.
The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is essentially a spiral upgrade of the Raytheon SM-3 Block IB round with enhanced velocity and range delivered through a uniform 21in diameter three-stage rocket motor propulsion stack; additional enhancements include an improved seeker, and significant capability uplift in the interceptor’s throttling divert and attitude control system capability, which will be incorporated in an advanced kinetic warhead.
Raytheon is contracted by the MDA to deliver Block IIA hardware, system development and all-up round integration, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, contracted separately through the Japanese Ministry of Defence’s Technical Research and Development Institute, will manufacture the second-and third-stage rocket motors and a new lightweight missile nosecone.
‘‘Block IIA takes everything we’ve have learnt since the late 1990s, every bit of knowledge in manufacturing, in discrimination, in algorithms, and provides an eye-watering capability,’’ said Hiser.