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Raytheon's ANY/TPY-2 radar supports SM-3 in intercept test

By Ryan Maass
The Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system. Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency
The Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system. Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency

KAUAI, Hawaii, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A Raytheon-built Standard Missile-3 Block IB with support by AN/TPY-2 radar was used to destroy a ballistic missile target in a test by the Missile Defense Agency.

During the test, a Standard Missile-3 Block IB destroyed an intermediate ballistic target using remote tracking data from the AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar. AN/TPY-2, a system also designed and produced by Raytheon, is designed to search the sky for ballistic missile threats, and uses computer algorithms to discriminate between warheads and non-threats. Raytheon officials hailed the live-fire test as a success, saying it keeps the Aegis Ashore program and SM-3 Block IB on track for deployment.

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"In many ways, the SM-3 system is the crown jewel of ballistic missile defense," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president in a statement. "No other sea- and land-based regional missile defense system comes close in terms of range and defended area, especially when paired with the AN/TPY-2 radar."

The Missile Defense Agency and Raytheon plan to deploy the SM-3 Block IB to Romania for the installation of an Aegis Ashore system by the end of 2015, part of U.S. plans to establish more missile defense systems in Europe.

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The Standard Missile-3 Block IB is part of a series of missile defense systems developed by Raytheon, which also includes the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA and the Land-Based SM-3. The SM-3 Block IB features an enhanced two-color infrared seeker and upgraded steering and propulsion capabilities. The missile became operational in 2014, and is currently equipped on U.S. Navy vessels.

The SM-3 has been used in combination with the AN/TPY-2 in earlier flight tests, which Raytheon Integraded Defense Systems vice president of missile defense programs Tom Laliberty says both programs work well in combination.

"The range and discrimination of the AN/TPY-2 radar combined with the range and speed of an SM-3 provide incredible coverage, which is why both systems are core elements of the global ballistic missile defense system," Laliberty said.

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