RIM-161C Block IB
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 US Navy ships worldwide.
The Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB is a ship-and shore based missile defense system interceptor designed to intercept short- to intermediate range ballistic missiles during the middle stage of their flight. The SM-3 interceptor has multiple versions in development or production: the SM-3 Blocks IA, IB, and IIA. The SM-3 Block IB features an enhanced target seeker capability for increased discrimination, an advanced signal processor for engagement coordination, an improved throttleable divert and attitude control system for adjusting its course, and increased range. The SM-3 Block IB interceptor is linked with Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System 4.0.2, Aegis BMD 5.0 Capability Upgrade and Aegis Ashore.
Aegis BMD is a sea-based missile defense system that employs the multi-mission shipboard Aegis Weapon System, with improved radar and new missile capabilities to engage ballistic missile threats. Capabilities of Aegis BMD include computer program modifications to the AN/SPY-1 radar for long-range surveillance and track (LRS&T) of ballistic missiles of all ranges. A modified Aegis Vertical Launch System stores and fires SM-3 Block IA and Block IB guided missiles (on select ships), and modified SM-2 Block IV guided missiles (on select ships).
SM-3 Block IA and Block IB guided missiles use a maneuverable kinetic warhead to accomplish midcourse engagements of short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
In FY13, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program completed most of the combined developmental test (DT)/ operational test (OT) and IOT&E flight test program for the Aegis BMD 4.0 system and Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile. The Aegis BMD program conducted five intercept missions in FY13 and one in early FY14. All but one resulted in successful intercepts. During an integrated flight test of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), an Aegis BMD 3.6.1 destroyer intercepted an anti-air warfare target using an SM-2 missile and failed to intercept a short-range ballistic missile target using an SM-3 Block IA guided missile.
During Flight Test Integrated-01 (FTI-01) in October 2012, an Aegis BMD 3.6.1 destroyer simultaneously engaged a short-range simple separating ballistic missile target with an SM-3 Block IA guided missile and an anti-air warfare target with an SM-2 missile. The SM-2 missile successfully engaged its intended target, but the SM-3 Block IA guided missile failed to intercept. FTI-01 was the first integrated flight test with multiple firing elements (Aegis BMD, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense [THAAD], and Patriot) engaging multiple ballistic missile and air-breathing targets in a realistic BMDS-level architecture.
A Failure Review Board concluded that the failure to intercept in FTI-01 was caused by a faulty memory chip in the SM-3 Block IA guided missile’s Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The specific brand of IMU with this problem is confined to a small fraction of fielded SM-3 Block IA guided missiles.
In the Flight Test Standard Missile-20 (FTM-20) mission in February 2013, an Aegis BMD 4.0.2 cruiser intercepted a medium-range non-separating ballistic missile target with an SM-3 Block IA guided missile using remote data provided by Space Tracking and Surveillance System – Demonstrators. The FTM-20 intercept was the first performed with an Aegis BMD 4.0 ship’s fire control system set up with remote engagements authorized, and the first firing of an SM-3 Block IA guided missile from an Aegis BMD 4.0 ship.
During FTM-19 in May 2013, an Aegis BMD 4.0.2 cruiser intercepted a short-range complex separating ballistic missile target with an SM-3 Block IB guided missile. The FTM-19 engagement was the third successful intercept mission conducted with the Aegis BMD 4.0 system with an SM-3 Block IB guided missile, and the second combined DT/OT flight test for that system. In addition to the flight mission, the ship participated in a four-event multi-warfare exercise, including live fire events with an SM-2 against an air-breathing threat and guns against a high-speed maneuvering surface threat, to assess simultaneous BMD radar loading while exercising surface warfare, electronic warfare, undersea warfare, and anti-air warfare capabilities.
An Aegis BMD 3.6.2e destroyer participated as a shooter in Flight Test Operational-01 (FTO-01) in September 2013. During the mission, the ship intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target with an SM-3 Block IA guided missile. FTO-01 was the first system-level operational flight test conducted by the MDA.
During FTM-21 in September 2013, an Aegis BMD 4.0.2 cruiser intercepted a short-range complex separating ballistic missile target with the first of two salvo-fired SM-3 Block IB guided missiles. This was the first salvo firing of two SM-3 guided missiles against a live ballistic missile target in an Aegis BMD flight test. The FTM-21 engagement was the fourth successful intercept mission conducted with the Aegis BMD 4.0 system and SM-3 Block IB guided missiles, and the first Aegis BMD flight test designated as an IOT&E mission supporting a Full-Rate Production decision for the SM-3 Block IB guided missile.
In the FTM-22 flight mission in October 2013, an Aegis BMD 4.0.2 cruiser intercepted a medium-range separating target with an SM-3 Block IB guided missile. The FTM-22 engagement was the fifth successful intercept mission conducted with the Aegis BMD 4.0 system with an SM-3 Block IB guided missile, and the second of two IOT&E flight missions. The FTM-22 engagement was the first intercept of a medium-range target with the Aegis BMD 4.0 system and an SM-3 Block IB guided missile.
With the completion of FTM-21 and FTM-22, the IOT&E flight testing phase for Aegis BMD 4.0 and SM-3 Block IB guided missiles was nearly complete. However, the program needed to complete Flight Test Other-18 (FTX-18) and planned HWIL testing of raid engagement capability and Information Assurance testing using accredited models and simulations in the test runs-for-the-record before an assessment of effectiveness and suitability can be made. Additionally, the program needed to test Aegis-Aegis, Aegis-THAAD, and Aegis-Patriot engagement coordination; only the first of these three types of engagement coordination was planned for live-target testing before the SM-3 Block IB Full-Rate Production decision in 4QFY14.
Concurrently with initiating full rate production, the Aegis program office, along with the contractor, is working on a redesign of the third-stage rocket motor (TSRM) components. The TSRM is used to lift the interceptor out of the atmosphere and direct the warhead to the target. This component contributed to test failures.
After the program enters into full production, MDA had plans to enter into a multiyear procurement contract which is a special contracting method that allows the agency issue one contract for up to five years, which will allow the agency to procure interceptors for up to five years, even though funds for the entire five years may not be available at the time of award. DOD would need to certify to Congress that the conditions for a multiyear procurement are met. Congress will then have to specifically authorize the multiyear procurement in law before MDA may award the contract.
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