Monday, June 24, 2024

US Navy fighter spotted with SM-6 missile over California

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet was recently seen flying over California armed with an SM-6 long-range anti-aircraft guided missile, sparking interest and speculation within defense circles.

The sighting, captured in a photograph, has raised questions about the potential new capabilities of the Super Hornet and the broader strategic implications.

The Super Hornet, a versatile multirole fighter, is well-known for its ability to carry a wide range of weapons. However, the presence of the SM-6 missile, primarily used for air defense and anti-surface warfare, suggests an expanded operational role. The SM-6, developed by Raytheon for sea-based platforms, is capable of engaging a variety of threats, including aircraft, cruise missiles, and surface targets, making it a critical component of the U.S. Navy’s integrated defense strategy.


As noted by Raytheon, the SM-6 weapon is deployable on 60 surface ships, and the company has already delivered more than 500 missiles to the Navy.

This development aligns with ongoing efforts to enhance the Navy’s offensive and defensive capabilities, particularly in response to evolving global threats. Integrating the SM-6 onto the Super Hornet could provide the Navy with greater flexibility and a more robust response to diverse threats, enhancing the overall combat effectiveness of carrier strike groups.

The F/A-18E Super Hornet, an advanced variant of the original F/A-18, has been a mainstay of the U.S. Navy’s air wings. Its adaptability and proven performance make it a prime candidate for incorporating new technologies and weapon systems, such as the SM-6.

While the specific details of the mission or test flight remain undisclosed, the sighting has generated significant attention.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.