Home » News & Analysis » VIDEO: MDA, Navy Conduct Flight Test On Upgraded SM-3 Block IB

VIDEO: MDA, Navy Conduct Flight Test On Upgraded SM-3 Block IB

SM-CTV-01a-02_001The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy tested an upgraded Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB missile aboard USS Hopper (DDG-70) this week, successfully demonstrating the performance of a more reliable third-stage rocket motor (TSRM) nozzle.

The so-called SM-3 Block IB Threat Upgrade missile was fired twice, in Controlled Test Vehicle (CTV)-01a and CTV-02, on May 25 and 26 off the west coast of Hawaii. No live target missile was fired, but Hopper’s Aegis Weapon System was prompted to generate a fire control solution against a simulated ballistic missile and launch the SM-3 Block IB.

“Based on the early data, the missiles performed as designed and validated the design modifications we made to further improve the reliability of the SM-3 Block IB,” MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring said in an MDA statement on the ballistic missile defense (BMD) test.
“I was very proud of the government and industry team in their performance this week and am appreciative of the support provided by USS Hopper and her great crew.”

MDA will buy the new Threat Upgrade missiles in a future full-rate production contract, MDA spokesman Chris Johnson told USNI News. MDA plans to buy as many as 246 SM-3 Block IB missiles through Fiscal Year 2021 for a cost of $2.6 billion, he said, though it is unclear exactly when the new contract would be approved and ready to be awarded to Standard Missile producer Raytheon.

“The objectives of these tests were to collect SM-3 IB third stage rocket motor (TSRM) performance data to verify the SM-3 TSRM nozzle engineering change proposal (ECP) design,” Johnson said.
“The ECP design modifications are being done to increase SM-3 IB reliability. SM CTV-01 and 02 were designed to verify the TSRM performs per design against simulated dynamic test targets, and the results of these flight tests will support the future SM-3 Block IB production authorization request” to the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

  • Andy Goward

    The cost is mind boggling……..

    • Marauder 2048

      So a missile with a dual pulse third stage and solid, throttable DACS should cost what, exactly?

      • Mike Rocket

        It would be nice if it was a cheap as a missile with a dual-pulse third stage and a solid, pulsed DACS that provides the same capability.

        • Marauder 2048

          TDACS provides superior kinematic capabilty over SDACS (better divert and pointing) while reducing the induced jitter on the seeker. That’s more capability which does cost more.

          • Mike Rocket

            The performance improvement / improved capability was some of the original advertising that I don’t believe panned out at least as regards the current threat set. Yes there is jitter, but the seeker has no problem handling it. MDA is running away from the interceptor model for a BMDS to “left of launch” capabilities. More expensive missiles are part of the reason why. We made HTK work but it needs to be affordable.

    • Ctrot

      Not compared to the Trillion a year we spend on the welfare state.

  • hopefully these are deployed in serious numbers as the 2 land sites can easily be rolled over with only a few simultaneous bogie launches….as designed, this system can easily be overwhelmed. the bad guys know this, they will not launch just one.