Thursday, March 21, 2013

SM-3: The Future of Missile Defense in Asia?

A SM-3 is fired at sea
European countries are mulling a plan to pool SM-3 missiles and to share radar-tracking. Could Asia do it too?

Raytheon Corp on March 5th reached a new milestone by successfully testing a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) ballistic missile interceptor using a non-Aegis data link, an important step in efforts to equip more naval vessels to employ the full range of missiles in the Standard Missile family. 

The SM-3 Block IA interceptor uses an S-band data link that can “handshake” with the AN/SPY-1 used on Aegis-equipped warships to provide guidance toward medium-range airborne targets in the exo-atmosphere. The SM-3 Block IB, currently under development and expected to enter service in 2015, also uses the S-band as a data link baseline. 

However, aware of the limitations that reliance on S-band-compatible data links posed for SM-3 sales and regional cooperation in “upper tier” air defense, in 2010, Raytheon began developing a prototype dual-band data link that would enable warships to use both the S-band and X-band radar to communicate with SM-3 missiles.

My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.

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