TUCSON, April 1 (UPI) -- Funding to complete the development phase of the Standard Missile-3 Block IB program has been given to Raytheon by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
"We expect to deliver the first flight test rounds to the MDA this summer," said Frank Wyatt, vice president of Raytheon's Air and Missile Defense Systems product line.
"The SM-3 Block IB will provide an increased engagement capability against a wider variety of ballistic missile threats, giving the warfighter increased flexibility to protect U.S. and allied forces."
The award from the MDA is $312 million.
Raytheon is developing SM-3 as part of the MDA's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. More than 130 SM-3s have been delivered. The missiles are deployed by the U.S. and Japanese navies to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight.
SM-3 Block IB maintains the reliability of the Block IA variant while incorporating an advanced two-color, infrared seeker, an advanced signal processor and a new throttleable divert and attitude control system," the company said.
The SM-3 Block IB will be deployed in both sea and land modes as part of phase two of the Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense.