Raytheon Company and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) successfully demonstrated the new
Block IA version of a Standard Missile-3 Block IA third stage rocket motor (TSRM).
The design verification test, conducted April 24 at the Air Force Research Lab,
Edwards Air Force Base, California, was the second successful test of the Block
IA design and the first to be conducted in a high-altitude chamber representing
the vacuum of space flight.
This test was also the second demonstration of an extended inter-pulse delay
between the end of the first pulse and the initiation of the second pulse. The
inter-pulse delay enhances the SM-3's flexibility to engage both short- and
medium-range ballistic missiles.
The TSRM is used to boost the SM-3 out of the atmosphere and to carry the Mk142
kinetic warhead (KW) to its intended target. The SM-3 Block IA TSRM is a minor
update to the fielded SM-3 Block I TSRM.
The SM-3 Block IA TSRM design primarily addresses obsolete parts, producibility
and supportability upgrades. Raytheon will begin delivering SM-3 Block IA rounds
this year and a flight test is planned for this summer.
The SM-3 is part of the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy Aegis Ballistic
Missile Defense system to counter ballistic missile threats in outer space. The
SM-3 KW separates from the third stage during the final intercept phase to track
the target with its infrared seeker and diverts to a kinetic hit-to-kill
During flight testing, the SM-3 has successfully intercepted six ballistic
missile targets. SM-3 and its KW are produced by Raytheon Company at its Missile
Systems business in Tucson, Arizona. ATK provides the TSRM as well as the solid
divert and attitude control system for the KW under a subcontract to Raytheon.
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