The Navy is ramping up production of its Standard Missile-6 as part of a broader effort to acquire up to 1,800 of the surface-to-air launched supersonic missiles, Raytheon officials said.
Launched from ship-based vertical launch systems, the SM-6 is engineered to destroy a range of approaching targets including unmanned aerial vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft, anti-ship cruise missiles and even ballistic missiles in flight, a Raytheon statement said.
Slated to fire alongside the existing longer-range SM-3 missile, the SM-6 weapon is designed to engage targets both over sea and over land. The SM-6 uses both active and semi-active guidance modes and advanced fuzing techniques, Raytheon officials said.
"SM-6 is proven against a broad range of advanced threats, which makes it very valuable to combatant commanders who need and want that flexibility," Mike Campisi, Standard Missile-6 senior program director, said in a written statement. "Full-rate production allows us to significantly ramp up production and deliver to the U.S. Navy the quantities it needs to further increase operational effectiveness."
The first full-rate production round was delivered to the U.S. Navy from Raytheon’s SM-6 and SM-3 all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. Prior to final assembly, a majority of the SM-6's section level assembly and testing development took place at Raytheon's subsystem center factory in Tucson, Ariz., a Raytheon statement indicated.
The SM-6’s eyes and brains are the same as the Raytheon-made Advanced Medium-Range Air to Air Missile, or AMRAAM. SM-6 embeds the AMRAAM’s battle tested and highly reliable seeker into the tried-and-true Standard Missile airframe. Like AMRAAM, the SM-6 can receive in-flight target updates, Raytheon officials said.
Raytheon has delivered more than 180 missiles to the U.S. Navy, which deployed SM-6 for the first time in December 2013.
The SM-6 also functions as part of a critical emerging technology for the Navy called Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air, or NIFC-CA. The NIFC-CA system uses an airborne relay sensor, ship-based radar technology and the SM-6 missile to locate and destroy approaching anti-ship cruise missile targets at distances beyond the horizon, Navy officials have explained.
The SM-6 will fire from a wide range of ships to include destroyers, cruisers and the Navy’s new high-tech destroyer, the DDG 1000.