Sunday, February 17, 2013

RIM-161 SM-3 Standard intercepts ballistic missile with STSS-D satellites

According to the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), a RIM-161 Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA missile, for the first time successfully intercepted a medium range ballistic missile using launch-on-remote doctrine or with tracking data coming from a remote source.

The target was detected and tracked using the Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrators (STSS-D) satellite constellation, an experimental cluster of 2 satellites equipped with sensors capable of detecting visible and infrared light.

The STSS-D satellites in turn forwarded the data to the USS Lake Erie (CG70), equipped with a second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, which launched a SM-3 missile to shoot down the target.

The SM-3 missile is launched from the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) and was developed from the SM-2 by Raytheon for anti-ballistic and anti-satellite use, including exoatmospheric intercepts.

The hit-to-kill SM-3 missile destroys its target using the kinetic impact force of the Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) warhead.

The current SM-3 Block IA can be used against:
  • short range ballistic missiles (SRBM) with range up to 1000 km
  • medium range ballistic missiles (MRBM) between 1000 and 3000 km
  • intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) between 3000 and 5500 km
Future versions will provide improved performance, including against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) with range greater than 5500 km.

The USS Lake Erie is a Ticonderoga class missile cruiser. of which the US Navy now has 22 in active service. The current Ticonderoga cruiser has:
  • a length of 173 m
  • a beam of 16.8 m
  • a displacement of 9600 long tons
  • a speed of over 30 kn
  • 2 Mk 45 5-inch guns
  • 128 cell Mk 41 VLS
  • 2 x 3 Mk 46 torpedoes
  • 2 helicopters
The COGAG Ticonderoga cruisers are propelled by 4 General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines with up to 80000 shaft horsepower.

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