During the month of May, Raytheon’s Standard Missile-3 Block IA program marks an important production milestone. We delivered our 100th Block IA to the Missile Defense Agency. This is a significant achievement because it helps to make our warfighters and our world a lot safer.
SM-3 is an engineering marvel. Fired from navy ships, the missile is designed to hunt down and destroy threat ballistic missiles in space before they can re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and do harm. We have proved this capability time and time again.
It really is like a bullet hitting a bullet. SM-3’s kill vehicle closes on its target at thousands of miles an hour. The kill vehicle’s seeker finds a precise spot on the threat missile, guides and controls itself to that spot; then, using kinetic energy, the kill vehicle collides with that target — obliterating it.
Many years ago when I was helping to develop the technologies and subsystems that would become SM-3, I sometimes wondered if we could really do it. Creating this capability was no small feat! I was privileged to work with some of the world’s brightest and most talented people and we delivered. Now I watch with pride every time we succeed in a flight test or against a target such as that failed satellite in 2008.
By now you probably know that SM-3 is the cornerstone of the nation’s new strategy — the Phased Adaptive Approach for protecting Europe against ballistic missiles. Raytheon is working on new and improved variants of SM-3 that will be deployed on ships and eventually on land. We need to put this shield in place as quickly as possible.
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While I’m proud of the 100th delivery, I believe we must increase production levels now and deliver even more missiles. Our enemies are working hard to develop ballistic missiles that would threaten our freedom and way of life. SM-3 is the best defense against that threat.
Congratulations to the SM-3 program on the 100th delivery. I am looking forward to the 200th delivery and beyond.