Air Defense: Navy Missile With Air Force Eyes


July 15, 2008: The U.S. Navy has developed and tested a new version of its Standard surface-to-air missile, that incorporates the radar seeker of the U.S. Air Force AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. This missile recently had a successful test, and the navy plans on putting the new missile, called the SM-6, into service in three years.

The SM-6 has a range of 180 kilometers, and is designed to take out low flying targets that are over the horizon, and cannot be tracked by the Aegis radar. Other ships, aircraft or satellites that spot such targets enable the SM-6 to be launched and sent to the general area of the approaching missile or aircraft. Then, the SM-6 would use the AMRAMM radar to spot and identify the target, and guide the missile to it, and destroy it.

The SM-6 weighs about the same (1.4 tons) as the normal SM-2 long range surface-to-air missile. The fifteen foot missile fits in the same vertical launching cells as the SM-2, which is guided all the way to its target by the ships Aegis radar.



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