June 21 (UPI) -- Raytheon's newest SM-6 missile interceptor is closer to low-rate initial production following successful completion of its final land-based test.
The test on the SM-6 Block IA, conducted at a test site in southern New Mexico, involved the interceptor engaging and destroying a sub-sonic target.
Raytheon said the interceptor is now entering at-sea testing and is expected to enter production next year.
"The Block 1A brings a new level of sophistication to the SM-6 and increases the precision of the missile even more," Mike Campisi, Raytheon's SM-6 senior program director, said in a press release. "Relying less on a ship combat system means the missile can continue to engage targets further and further away with extreme accuracy."
The SM-6 Block 1A improves the SM-6 BLK 1 with an enhanced precision guidance section that allows the missile to seek and destroy a wide variety of threats.
Raytheon's SM-6 is capable of anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, and terminal ballistic missile defense. It is manufactured at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.
Raytheon said about 340 SM-6 missiles have been produced to date.