The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded Raytheon Missiles & Defense an $867 million contract to deliver Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA Interceptors by December 31, 2026.
The Block IIA is the latest in the SM family of interceptors jointly developed with Japan.
The missile features bigger rocket motors compared to previous versions to “defend broader areas from ballistic missile threats,” Raytheon wrote. Moreover, its larger kinetic warhead has improved “search, discrimination, acquisition and tracking functions, to address advanced and emerging threats.”
Employs Hit-to-Kill Kinetic Vehicle
The interceptor has been designed to operate as part of the Aegis ballistic missile defense system from ship-based platforms and ashore. It employs a hit-to-kill kinetic vehicle to intercept a missile mid course through collision.
The Block IIA can defend against short-range (300 kilometers-1,000 kilometers or 186-621 miles) and intermediate-range (3,000-5,500 kilometers or 1,864-8,851 miles) ballistic missiles.
MDA Director, Vice Admiral Jon Hill said, ”This contract award is a significant milestone for the Aegis Weapons System because the production and deployment of the SM3 BLK IIA will provide the warfighter with the increased ballistic missile defense capability they need to protect themselves, US forces and allies.”