Combatant Commanders gain new ballistic missile defense capability through 'threat upgrade' software

Updates make SM-3 more lethal against advanced threats

Mar 11, 2015, 08:00 ET from Raytheon Company

TUCSON, Ariz., March 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time ever, Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) has begun enhancing Standard Missile-3 Block IBs with 'threat upgrade' software, giving the weapon's kill vehicle the ability to hunt down more complicated, more lethal targets.

Though exact details are classified, the ability to make improvements through software upgrades means combatant commanders can get increased ballistic missile defense capabilities without the time and expense associated with traditional disassembly or hardware replacement.

"We're proving it's possible to significantly improve the SM-3 Block IB's capability without having to go through the process of breaking apart the missile and then rebuilding again," Dr. Mitch Stevison, Standard Missile-3 senior program director. "Software updates are inherently less risky and extremely cost effective."

The Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy plan to test an SM-3 Block IB enhanced with the new software in 2015.

The SM-3 Block IB's software updates were performed in Raytheon's Tucson, Ariz., Space Factory. Final assembly of the SM-3 takes place at Raytheon's Redstone Missile Integration Facility in Huntsville, Ala.

About the Standard Missile-3

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 next-generation SM-3 Block IB incorporates an enhanced two-color infrared seeker and the Throttleable Divert and Attitude Control System, a mechanism that propels the missile toward incoming targets.

  • More than 200 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.
  • SM-3 Block IIA, co-developed with Japan, will have larger rocket motors and a bigger, more capable kinetic warhead. It's on track for deployment at sea and ashore in 2018.

About Raytheon 

Raytheon Company, with 2014 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 93 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cyber security and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @raytheon.

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