Raytheon Missile Systems and NATO have plans to form a consortium to build components for the Standard Missile-3 in an effort to ensure NATO’s growing ballistic missile defenses.
Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile’s president said the company envisages a possible partnering arrangement for the SM-3 similar to that used to produce the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM), warning that achieving it is likely to be a lengthy process.
The missile was originally designed to operate with U.S. Navy Aegis combat weapon systems operating in the S-band.
Lawrence said during an interview at the Paris Air Show last week that the company was continuing to explore the potential for setting up a pooling arrangement for SM-3s in the event European NATO navies opt to acquire the weapon.
“Now that NATO has stood up and said it will contribute to the missile defense mission, we are looking at a possible creation of a pool of SM-3s for the missile defense mission. We are also defining the content that potential partners could bring to the table in a number of different technology areas,” he said.
In March, the SM-3 moved a step closer to possible adoption by some NATO navies for missile defense when the U.S. Company successfully tested the ability of the weapon’s dual-band datalink to exchange information with Dutch X-band radar.
The Dutch, Danish and Germans have had discussions over the SM-3’s capabilities, but none of the navies appear close to buying the weapon.
“We haven’t concluded an actual partnership on that specific program, but you can look to examples like the ESSM consortium and you can imagine something similar. It may take a while to bring together the same number of countries as we have for ESSM , but over time you can imagine a few countries joining a potential consortium for SM-3 and contributing to the Euro missile shield,” Lawrence said.
Raytheon already has an SM-3 industrial link with Japan, and sees openness in the US to look at partnerships for specific capabilities.
“It would depend on issues like which country and which companies are involved, but as long as there is core competency in a particular technology, we are certainly open to bringing them into the architecture,” he added.