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NAVSEA funds Raytheon for SM-2 Block IIIC LRIP award

Raytheon Missiles & Defense is to commence low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the latest Block IIIC variant of the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) anti-air warfare missile under a USD45 million contract modification awarded by the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) on 1 July.

Designated as an accelerated acquisition Maritime Accelerated Capabilities Office programme, the SM-2 Block IIIC upgrades existing US Navy (USN) SM-2 Block IIIA/Block IIIB semi-active radar homing missiles to incorporate a medium-range active capability. According to the USN, the Block IIIC provides enhanced stream-raid performance via target resolution and missile/target pairing logic, offers over-the-horizon capability for increased depth of fire, enhances capability against electronic attack, and delivers improved firepower due to decreased dependence on illuminators.

The SM-2 Block IIIC maximises the reuse of the existing SM-6 Block I active guidance section (which is itself derived from the seeker of the AIM-120C Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) with a SM-2 Block III rocket motor while minimising new hardware and software development work. Semi-active functionality is maintained alongside the new active radar capability.

NAVSEA awarded Raytheon a sole-source USD149.4 million contract for SM-2 Block IIIC engineering and manufacturing development in December 2018. The initial LRIP option, funded in fiscal year (FY) 2021, covers 20 SM-2 Block IIIC missiles and spares. Work is expected to complete by September 2024.

Development of SM-2 Block IIIC is scheduled to complete in FY 2022, after which the missile will conduct its first at-sea flight test. Initial capability for Block IIIC is planned for the second quarter of FY 2023 with an anticipated 60 full all-up rounds.

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