Raytheon and the Missile Defense Agency have updated the Standard Missile-3 IIA weapon with new software, sensors and infrared seeker designed to handle new threat data and detect hostile targets in space, Defense Systems reported Friday.
MDA officials said the Raytheon-built SM-3 IIA missile worked to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile during a demonstration, Kris Osborn wrote.
“We are not only able to increase the threat space but bring in new threats as they emerge through software upgrades,” said Amy Cohen, SM-3 program director at Raytheon.
“We work with the MDA to define how we’re going to make improvements and what threats we want to incorporate,” Cohen added.
The SM-3 interceptor is designed to be launched from Aegis Ashore sites or U.S. Navy ships and travel at a speed of 600 miles per hour to zero in on short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile targets in space.
The U.S. and Japan collaborate on the development of the SM-3 Block IIA missile variant that has a larger kinetic warhead and rocket motors.
SM-3 Block IIA is part of Europe’s missile defense platform and is scheduled for deployment in 2018 in Poland for use in ground and maritime operations.