Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Pentagon approves sale of SM-3 missiles to Japan

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The U.S. Department of State has approved a possible $561 million Foreign Military Sale to Japan of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) missiles, the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) announced in a 19 November statement. 

According to DSCA, the Government of Japan has requested to buy 8 SM-3 Block IB Missiles and 13 SM-3 Block IIA Missiles.  Also included are SM-3 1B and 2A missile canisters, U.S. Government and contractor provided technical assistance, engineering and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The total estimated program cost is $561 million.

The proposed sale will provide Japan with an increased ballistic missile defense capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there. Japan will have no difficulty absorbing these additional munitions and support into the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).

The principal contractor for the SM-3 Block IB and IIA Up Rounds will be Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona. The prime contractor for the Mk-21 and Mk-29 canisters and PHS&T kits will be BAE Systems, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The SM-3 is a ship-based missile system used to intercept short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles as a part of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

According to Raytheon, the interceptor uses sheer force, rather than an explosive warhead, to destroy its target. Its “kill vehicle” hits threats with the force of a 10-ton truck traveling 600 mph. This technique, referred to as “hit-to-kill,” has been likened to intercepting a bullet with another bullet.

The SM-3 Block IB interceptor 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.

The SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is being developed and produced in cooperation with Japanese industry 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. The interceptor’s kinetic warhead has been enhanced, improving the search, discrimination, acquisition and tracking functions, to address advanced and emerging threats.

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Executive Editor

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