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10:53 AM, May 2, 2018
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SM-3 Block IIA interceptor on track for deployment at sea and ashore in Poland (Image: Raytheon)

Raytheon has won $387 million modification contract to procure a limited subset of items necessary to maintain schedule for eventual manufacture, assembly, test and delivery of 20 Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles and related efforts, and up to four additional foreign military sales (FMS) missiles, for a potential total of 24 missiles.

The contract action also increases the transition to production undefinitized contract action (Unue developing engineering manufacturing readiness level (EMRL) 3 compliance, achieving sustained rate capability of producing two all-up rounds per month, demonstrating EMRL 4 compliance, and achieving Tactical Configuration Readiness. This modification increases the total cumulative face value of the contract by $415 million(from $694 million to $1.1 billion) . The work is expected by April 2022, US department of defense said in a statment Tuesday.

The SM-3 interceptor is a defensive weapon the US Navy uses to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The interceptor uses sheer force, rather than an explosive warhead, to destroy its target. Its “kill vehicle” hits threats with the force of a 10-ton truck traveling 600 mph. This technique, referred to as “hit-to-kill,” has been likened to intercepting a bullet with another bullet.

The next-generation SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is being developed and produced in cooperation with Japanese industry and will be deployable on land as well as at sea. It has two distinct new features: larger rocket motors that will allow it to defend broader areas from ballistic missile threats and a larger kinetic warhead. The interceptor’s kinetic warhead has been enhanced, improving the search, discrimination, acquisition and tracking functions, to address advanced and emerging threats.

The SM-3 IIA missile intercepted an advanced ballistic missile threat in its first live target test in early 2017. The flawless intercept was preceded by two successful non-target flight tests.

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 Phased Adaptive Approach.

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