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US Navy deploys Standard Missile-3 Block IB for first time

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The US Navy cruiser USS Lake Erie fires an SM-3 Block 1B interceptor during a May 16, 2013 test in mid-Pacific. Photo: US MDA.

TUCSON, ARIZONA (BNS): For the first time, the US Navy in partnership with the Missile Defence Agency has deployed the second-generation Standard Missile-3 Block IB, initiating the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach.

The first Aegis Ashore test with the SM-3 Block IB and upgraded Aegis BMD Weapons System will take place in 2014 at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, SM-3s builder Raytheon said.

The Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) Phase 1 began in March 2011 when the USS Monterey deployed carrying SM-3 Block IAs.

In October 2013, ground broke in Romania on the first operational Aegis Ashore site, which will be capable of launching SM-3 Block IAs, IBs and IIAs.

The site continues on track for 2015 deployment as part of PAA Phase 2. Along with deployed Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence ships, Romania's Aegis Ashore site will provide additional ballistic missile coverage of NATO countries.

The SM-3s destroy incoming ballistic missile threats in space using nothing more than sheer impact, which is equivalent to a 10-ton truck travelling at 600 mph, according to Raytheon.

The programme has completed 26 successful intercepts in space.

More than 180 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 21 inch 2nd and 3rd stage rocket motors and a larger, more capable kinetic warhead B.

"The SM-3 Block IB's completion of initial operational testing last year set the stage for a rapid deployment to theatre," said Dr. Taylor W Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems.

Tags:

US  Navy  Missile  Defence  MDA  Raytheon  
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