According to navalnews, on July 24, the US Navy launched four SM-6 missiles to intercept two SRBM missiles in the latest test of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA)

The new hypersonic arms race is becoming a potential threat to missile defense systems. In the United States, a new proposal is being discussed, aimed at modernizing the SM-6 anti-aircraft missile to meet new needs and missions. In a short time, the US military will have a more modern weapon, to strengthen its defense against the threats of new hypersonic weapons from potential adversaries.

The interceptor missile tests are seen by the US as an opportunity to improve technology and demonstrate defense power globally. Tests of the SM-6 anti-aircraft missile aimed at determining its ability to intercept hypersonic targets. When receiving positive results, SM-6 may begin to be modernized. By 2024, on the basis of the SM-6 missile, the US plans to create a new weapon capable of perfectly performing the task of intercepting hypersonic targets.

Standard Missile 6 (SM-6)
Standard Missile 6 (SM-6)

The SM-6 anti-aircraft missile, also known as the Standard Extended Range Active Missile RIM-174 (ERAM), or Standard Missile 6 (SM-6), was developed by Raytheon Corporation, and has been in service with the US Navy since 2013. The weapon has been exported to a number of US allies, including Australia, Japan and South Korea.

SM-6 is a product using a two-stage solid fuel engine. It has a length of 6.6m, with a maximum diameter of about 530mm. The launch weight is 1,500kg, of which the fragmentation warhead weighs 64kg. The missile is equipped with an inertial guidance system and an active/passive radar seeker. SM-6 can reach a maximum speed of March 3.5. The range of the first modified version of Block 1A is claimed to be 240km, the ceiling is 34,000m. After modernization, the SM-6 can almost double the range.

The SM-6 is fully compatible with the Mk 41 multi-role launcher, allowing it to be fitted on a variety of warships of both the US and its partners. It was designed for extended range anti-air warfare (ER-AAW) purposes providing capability against fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-ship cruise missiles in flight, both over sea and land, and terminal ballistic missile defense. It can also be used as a high speed anti-ship missile.

During the tests, the SM-6 demonstrated and confirmed its high-flying characteristics. Its control and guidance systems help it effectively deal with the interception of maneuverable aerodynamic targets and high-speed ballistic objects, with predictable trajectories. Thus, in fact the SM-6 missile is not only an anti-aircraft weapon, but also a multi-role complex to solve different tasks. High combat performance combined with advanced guidance and control facilities can make the SM-6 a mobile interceptor weapon against hypersonic targets.

If SM-6 is confirmed to be capable of dealing with the hypersonic threat, its upgrade project will be launched. It will take several years, and by the end of the decade, American warships will receive the most advanced missile defense.


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