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Upgrade to SM-3 missile engines validated

A rocket engine upgrade for SM-3 missiles has tested successfully, Raytheon says.

By Richard Tomkins
Upgrade to SM-3 missile engines validated
An SM-3 interceptor missile during launch. U.S. Navy photo

PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY, Hawaii, May 27 (UPI) -- Testing of engine upgrades to the Standard Missile-3 interceptor has confirmed enhanced rocket performance and reliability, Raytheon reports.

The upgrade to the Block IB third stage rocket motor, which had previously passed ground testing, will be integrated into the current missile production line.

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"Raytheon is continually working to increase the overall reliability of the highly dependable SM-3, reflecting the MDA's commitment to mature this capability for the defense of our nation, deployed forces, and our allies," said Dr. Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Air & Missile Defense vice president. "SM-3 continues to demonstrate its versatility and reliability, providing an extraordinary level of protection from sea or land."

MDA is the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, co-sponsor of the tests conducted from the USS Hopper, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The SM-3 is used to intercept short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and destroy them through kinetic force. Originally a shipboard system of the U.S. Navy, it is now deployed on land as well.

[CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the vessel as the USS Paul Hamilton. Tests were conducted aboard the USS Hopper.]

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