SM-3 Block IB Interceptor
Whether on land or at sea, the SM-3 interceptor continues to excel in testing. In 2014, the Block IB variant was successfully launched for the first time from an Aegis Ashore test site in Hawaii. Later that year, the missile destroyed a short-range ballistic missile target during a highly complex integrated air and missile defense exercise in the Pacific Ocean.
The SM-3 Block IB interceptor features an improved two-tone infrared seeker and improved steering and propulsion capability that uses short bursts of precision propulsion to steer the missile towards incoming targets. It became operational in 2014, deploying for the first time on US Navy ships worldwide.
SM-3 Block IIA Interceptor
In cooperation with Japan, Raytheon Missiles & Defense is developing the next-generation SM-3 Block IIA interceptor. It has two distinct new features: larger rocket engines that will allow it to defend wider areas against ballistic missile threats, and a larger kinetic warhead. The interceptor’s kinetic warhead has been upgraded, improving search, discrimination, acquisition and tracking functions, to deal with advanced and emerging threats.
The SM-3 IIA missile intercepted an advanced ballistic missile threat during its first live target test in early 2017. The flawless intercept was preceded by two successful untargeted flight tests. The system participated in a NATO-led international exercise in 2019 that simulated real-life threat scenarios. Close cooperation between allied nations and industry helps ensure readiness to defeat complex threats around the world.
The Block IIA variant is the centerpiece of the European missile defense system. It will be deployed ashore in Poland to complete Phase 3 of the European Adaptive Phased Approach.