The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) plans to begin delivering the new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor to the U.S. Navy by the end of calendar year 2018, a program official said March 15.
“Our focus right now is getting through the IIA development, getting the IIA into production,” said Navy Rear Adm. Johnny Wolfe, program executive for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, who spoke at a Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance event on Capitol Hill.
The Block IIA is a longer-range variant of the SM-3 Block IA and IB interceptors deployed on U.S. Aegis Ships, Japanese Kongo-class Ships and an Aegis Ashore site in Romania. MDA, Japan and Raytheon [RTN] are jointly developing the Block IIA, which will be deployed on land and at sea starting to defend against medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
The new interceptor achieved its first shoot-down of a ballistic missile target during a Feb. 3 test. Another intercept attempt is planned for May.