Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Raytheon Missile Systems is being awarded a $614.5 million modification to an existing contract for the production of Standard Missile 3 Block IIA surface-to-air missiles, the Department of Defense announced on Monday.
The modification will also provide engineering support and missile containers. The production run will take place in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be finished by March 2020.
The SM-3 Block IIA is the newest development of the Standard surface-to-air missile series. It is designed for use with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system to intercept medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The SM-3 can be land or sea-based and uses its own kinetic energy, or "hit-to-kill," rather than explosive warheads. The Block IIA model is capable of engaging ballistic missiles as they begin their descent in low space at long ranges.
Currently deployed versions capable of intercepting ballistic missiles of the SM-3 include the SM-3 Block 1A, SM-3 Block 1B, and SM-6 interceptors. It is expected to be exported to interested nations operating the Aegis system on either land or sea.