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SM-6 missile demonstrates capabilities

The U.S. Navy has conducted evaluation tests on the SM-6 Block 1 surface-to-air missile.

By Richard Tomkins
SM-6 missile demonstrates capabilities
An SM-6 surface-to-air missile is launched from a U.S. warship. Photo: U.S. Missile Defense Agency

HONOLULU, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Raytheon's surface-to-air SM-6 Block 1 missile has successfully demonstrated its capabilities in U.S. Navy test flights off the Hawaiian coast.

The tests in January were part of the SM-6 Blk I Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation events planned to assess missile performance, the Navy said.

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"These flight tests, once again, demonstrate the versatility and capability that the SM-6 provides for our Navy's fleet defense," said Capt. Michael Ladner, Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems' major program manager for Surface Ship Weapons. "I'm extremely proud of our Standard Missile team for their hard work and efforts in achieving four more successful SM-6 missions.

"These tests mark the longest downrange and cross-range engagements of the SM-6 to date."

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The SM-6 is an over-the-horizon weapon launched from an Aegis-equipped warship against air threats.

The Navy said there were four tests conducted. Tests Alpha and Bravo were the longest down-range and longest cross-range intercepts with an SM-6 to date. In test Delta, two targets were simultaneously engaged, and a target with electronic counter-measures was successfully intercepted in test Golf.

The SM-6, the sixth fielded variant of the Standard Missile family, achieved Initial Operational Capability in 2013. Full Operational Capability status is expected in 2018.

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The Pentagon's 2017 budget includes a $2.9 billion request for the SM-6, which it was recently revealed will be gaining supersonic anti-ship capability.

"We are going to create a brand-new capability," Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Wednesday. "We're modifying the SM-6 so that in addition to missile defense, it can also target enemy ships at sea at very long ranges."

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