In partnership with the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy deployed the second-generation Standard Missile-3 Block IB made by Raytheon Company for the first time, initiating the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach.
"The SM-3 Block IB's completion of initial operational testing last year set the stage for a rapid deployment to theater," said Dr.Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "The SM-3's highly successful test performance gives combatant commanders around the world the confidence they need to counter the growing ballistic missile threat."
In 2009, the administration announced the U.S.'s decision to adopt a new, more flexible approach to missile defense of both the U.S. and Europe. The Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) Phase 1 began in March 2011 when the USS Monterey deployed carrying SM-3 Block IAs.
"The SM-3 program's evolution speaks to the importance of harnessing past successes to deliver increasingly capable systems to our customers, while reducing costs and delivery timelines," said Dr. Mitch Stevison, Raytheon's Standard Missile-3 program director.
In Oct. 2013, ground broke in Romania on the first operational Aegis Ashore site, which will be capable of launching SM-3 Block IAs, IBs and IIAs. The site continues on track for 2015 deployment as part of PAA Phase 2.
Along with deployed Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ships, Romania's Aegis Ashore site will provide additional ballistic missile coverage of NATO countries. The first Aegis Ashore test with the SM-3 Block IB and upgraded Aegis BMD Weapons System will take place this year at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii.
The SM-3s destroy incoming ballistic missile threats in space using nothing more than sheer impact, which is equivalent to a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph. The program has completed 26 successful intercepts in space. And it has more than 180 SM-3s have been delivered to the U.S. and Japan to date. SM-3 Block IB will be deployed ashore in 2015 in Romania.