November 18, 2007 Raytheon's Standard Missile-3s have successfully intercepted and destroyed ballistic missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere, the first time a Navy ship has demonstrated simultaneous engagements against such targets in space.
Raytheon Company plays a pivotal role in the United States’ anti-ballistic missile program, supplying the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System with Standard Missile-3s (SM-3).
The dual missile defense test conducted earlier this month involved two SM-3 Block 1A intercepting missiles being fired from the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70), while the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai launched the targets. The anti-ballistic missiles were the 10th and 11th successful intercepts for the SM-3.
"These successful intercepts add to SM-3's impressive flight test record and are a clear demonstration of Raytheon's commitment to Mission Assurance," said Frank Wyatt, Raytheon's vice president of Naval Weapon Systems. "SM-3 plays a vital role in protecting our nation against the threat of ballistic missiles." The SM-3 is being developed as part of the Missile Defense Agency's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The missiles will be deployed on Aegis cruisers and destroyers to defend against short-to-intermediate range ballistic missile threats in the mid-course phase of flight. Raytheon also is developing the kinetic warhead for SM-3.
Anti-ballistic missiles have been very effective against tactical ballistic missiles, most notably in the current Iraq war. However, anti-ballistic missiles are generally less effective against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) – a problem Raytheon seeks to alleviate with the SM-3’s space targeting ability.