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Standard Missile-3

Standard Missile-3

Standard Missile-3 is the world's only ballistic missile killer deployable on land or at sea.

SM-3® is a defensive weapon used by the U.S. Navy to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. This "hit-to-kill" missile interceptor uses an exoatmospheric "kill vehicle," to collide with targets in space, a capability that's been likened to hitting a bullet with a bullet. The massive collision of the kill vehicle hitting its target obliterates the threat completely; explosives are not necessary. The resulting impact is the equivalent of a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph.

May 20, 2014 Aegis Ashore Play Video
The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy launch a Standard Missile-3 Block IB guided missile from the Aegis Ashore Weapon System in Kauai, Hawaii.

Land Based SM-3
The SM-3 program is a critical piece of the United States' Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense. Currently, U.S. Navy ships carrying SM-3s deployed off Europe's coast provide the continent's only "upper tier" defense from the growing threat of ballistic missiles. Starting this year, the first land-based SM-3 site will become operational in Romania, further enhancing Europe's protection

The flexibility of SM-3 to be both land- and sea-based offers countries that do not have ballistic missile defense-enabled navies to take advantage of the SM-3's incredible capacity to protect large areas of land, often referred to as regional defense, with fewer interceptor sites when compared to other "lower tier" missile defense solutions.

The U.S. Aegis Ashore missile defense system at the Naval Support Facility in Deveselu, Romania is expected to be fully operational in late 2015. (Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
The U.S. Aegis Ashore missile defense system at the Naval Support Facility in Deveselu, Romania is expected to be fully operational in late 2015. (Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Whether on land or at sea, the SM-3 continues to excel in testing. In 2014, the SM-3 Block IB was successfully launched for the first time from an Aegis Ashore testing site in Hawaii. Later in the year, an SM-3 destroyed a short-range ballistic missile target during a highly complex integrated air and missile defense exercise in the Pacific.

The program has more than 25 successful space intercepts, and more than 240 interceptors have been delivered to U.S. and Japanese navies.

SM-3 Block IB
The SM-3 Block IB has an enhanced two-color infrared seeker and upgraded steering and propulsion capability that uses short bursts of precision propulsion to direct the missile toward incoming targets. It became operational in 2014, deploying for the first time on U.S. Navy ships worldwide.

SM-3 Block IIA
The next-generation SM-3 Block IIA is being developed in cooperation with Japan 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.

SM-3 Block IIA is the centerpiece of the European missile defense system, and Raytheon Company will begin flight testing in 2015 to keep the program on track for 2018 deployment at sea and on land in Poland.

InfographicLaunch Infographic

The Evolution of Standard Missile-3

Learn more about Raytheon's Missile Defense Solutions.


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Feature Stories

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Photo Gallery

SM-3 Photo Gallery Launch Gallery


FTM-25 VideoPlay Video

The Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy conduct a flight test (FTM-25) of the Ballistic Missile Defense system.

SM-3 VideoPlay Video

Raytheon's ballistic missile defense systems provide layered defense around the world.

Media Coverage

Raytheon to gather long-lead components for missile interceptor (UPI)

Poland, Romania lead East Europe missile defense efforts (DefenseNews)

SM-6 can now kill both cruise and ballistic missiles (Breaking Defense)

Guided missiles: Arizona's most high-tech company (The Arizona Republic)

Alabama rockets on (Aviation Week)

Raytheon SM-3 makes landfall in Europe (Aviation Week)

Raytheon pushes long-range missile defense with SM-3 missiles, TPY-2 radars (Aviation International News)

U.S.-Japan interceptor makes its first flight (Space News)

Navy, Missile Defense Agency, Japan conduct first flight test of Standard Missile-3 Block IIA (USNI)

U.S., Japan say first test of Raytheon's new SM-3 missile a success (Reuters)

Raytheon gets $559 million missile contract; work finalized at Redstone Arsenal (Huntsville Times)

News Releases

Raytheon receives $87 million SM-3 Block IIA contract

U.S. begins flight testing advanced missile defense interceptor

Raytheon awarded $559 million for SM-3 Block IB

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

Raytheon Missile Systems named Alabama Manufacturer of the Year

SM-3, SM-2s take on ballistic, cruise missile targets during simulated missile 'raid' attack exercise

Aegis Ashore launches Standard Missile-3 for first time

Related Information

Missile Defense Overview

Missile Defense Agency (MDA)