TUCSON, May 23 (UPI) -- Raytheon has received approval from the U.S. Defense Acquisition Board for full-rate production of the Standard Missile-6.
"SM-6 is a game-changing, transformational fleet defense missile and we're on track to reach initial operating capability this year," said Wes Kremer, Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems.
"This is a monumental moment for the SM-6 program and signifies a new era of fleet defense for our naval warfighters."
The SM-6, which will be operational this year, provides extended-range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.
Low-rate initial production missiles took place in early 2011. Delivery of the full-rate production missiles is expected to begin in April 2015, Raytheon said.
Raytheon has a new production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama for the SM-6 as well as the SM-3. It was built at the cost of $75 million.