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SM-2 missile sale to Chile approved

The US government has approved the sale of the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIA missile to Chile to equip two Adelaide-class guided-missile frigates acquired from Australia.

In a 5 February press statement, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the State Department had approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) case, valued at an estimated USD85 million, for 16 SM-2 Block IIIA Missiles plus associated equipment. Raytheon Missiles and Defense would be the principal contractor for the proposed FMS sale.

The SM-2 missiles are intended to equip the former Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Adelaide-class frigates Almirante Latorre (ex-HMAS Melbourne) and Captain Prat (ex-HMAS Newcastle). A sales agreement for the two ships was concluded between the Australian and Chilean governments in late 2019. A handover and commissioning ceremony for the two ships took place in Sydney in April 2020.

Both ships received extensive modernisation in RAN service and were later modified to be able to fire the SM-2 Block IIIA (replacing the earlier SM-1 Block VI) using their Mk 13 Guided Missile Launching System. While the Australian government refused to disclose if any munitions were transferred to Chile, there is no evidence that any guided weapons were included in the sale.

The full scope of the proposed FMS package comprises two MK 89 Mod 0 guidance sections, and one Target Detection Device kit (including shroud), MK 45 Mod 14, in addition to the 16 rail-launched SM-2 Block IIIA all-up rounds, including two missiles with a manufacturer-installed telemeter. Also included is an intermediate-level maintenance facility, spare parts and associated containers, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, and US government and contractor technical assistance.

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