MDA To Award Raytheon Sole-Source Contract For SM-3 IIA Interceptors

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is planning to award a sole-source contract to Raytheon [RTN] to produce and deliver Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA ballistic missile interceptors starting in FY 2019 and lasting through 2023 with a possible extension through FY 2027.

The MDA posted a pre-solicitation notice to this effect to FedBizOpps on Sept. 21.

An SM-3 Block IIA missile interceptor is launched from the USS John Paul Jones in a Feb. 2017 test called SFTM-1. Photo: Missile Defense Agency.

An SM-3 Block IIA missile interceptor is launched from the USS John Paul Jones in a Feb. 2017 test called SFTM-1. Photo: Missile Defense Agency.

The SM-3 IIA is being jointly developed by the U.S., Japan, and Raytheon to defend against intermediate- and medium-range ballistic missiles. It is used in the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system and is planned to be deployed on Aegis-capable destroyers and upgrade the Romanian Aegis Ashore site, which currently uses the SM-3 IB interceptors.

In the notice, MDA said “this contract action is contingent upon the SM-3 BLK IIA program obtaining an Initial Production Decision.”

It also explained that while the anticipated performance period is initially five years, additional interceptors may be negotiated to extend performance through 2027.

MDA said Raytheon is a highly specialized source and no other known suppliers will satisfy agency requirements but that all responsible sources may submit statements by Oct. 15, indicating the final announcement will be made after that date.

Last March MDA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves told Congress the agency plans to conduct an SM-3 IIA intercept test against an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-class target by December 2020 (Defense Daily, March 23).

Previously, in January an SM-3 IIA intercept test in Hawaii failed and missed its air-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile target (Defense Daily, Jan. 31). That failure came after a June 2017 test failure due to a sailor accidentally pressing a button causing the interceptor to break off engagement with a target and self-destruct.

The agency has not publicly released the findings of the Failure Review Board that worked to find the cause of the January 2018 test failure, but Greaves repeatedly notes the SM-3 IIA is a capable system.

In April, Greaves told the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee that the MDA believes “we understand the specific component that did not function as designed” and it is taking action to correct the undisclosed issue.





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