This article has been updated to include additional information from Raytheon.
The U.S. Navy and Raytheon successfully engaged an over-the-horizon supersonic target with a Standard Missile-6 for the first time, the company announced today.
The crew of the Navy’s USS Desert Ship (LLS-1) at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico fired the SM-6 at a medium-range supersonic target while acquiring the target location from offboard sensors communicating through the Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) network.
“This weapon multiplies the amount of defended space the U.S. Navy can protect,” Mike Campisi, Raytheon’s Standard Missile-6 senior program director, said in a company statement.
“The ships can now use data from remote sensors to support the engagement of targets. Sailors can now launch at threats much sooner than ever before.”
Last summer the SM-6 successfully engaged an over-the-horizon target, and separately hit a supersonic target, but this is the first time it engaged an over-the-horizon supersonic target, Raytheon spokeswoman Heather Uberuaga told USNI News. She said the SM-6 is already “the only multi-mission missile capable of enhanced [anti-air warfare] and over-the-horizon capability,” and its mission set is about to further expand – the Navy will begin testing SM-6 this summer against ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight.
The SM-6 is deployed on Navy ships today and provides extended range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. The missile combines the Standard Missile airframe with a modified Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) active seeker. Last month, Raytheon delivered the first full-rate production SM-6 from its new production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.