US Navy test fires SM-6 Dual I missiles

USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) launches a Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) during a live-fire test of the ship's Aegis weapons system in 2014. Photo: US Navy

The U.S. Navy recently test fired two Standard Missile-6 Dual I guided missiles from the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile target at sea in its final seconds of flight.

Developed by Raytheon Missile Systems, SM-6 is the new sea-based terminal variant missile.

The SM-6 Dual I achieved initial operating capability in 2016, and is on track to achieve final operating capability. It was first tested in a successful flight test mission in August 2015.

“This test showcased the flexibility of SM-6 by providing both anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense from sea,” said Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. “Combined with its anti-surface warfare capabilities, the SM-6 will play a significant role in protecting U.S. and allied forces at sea and ashore.”

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s sea-based terminal program will protect against ballistic threats in their terminal phase of flight by using SM-6 missiles integrated into the Aegis integrated missile guidance system.

SM-6 provides U.S. Navy vessels with extended-range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight, and an offensive capability against surface targets.

In April 2015, Raytheon delivered the first full-rate production SM-6 from its all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

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