Raytheon has plans to go as high as eight per month in the future if funding allows. The first SM-3, a IB model, is slated for delivery to MDA next week from Raytheon’s new facility in Huntsville, Ala.; assembly previously took place in Tucson, Ariz. Raytheon has delivered 130 SM-3 IAs to the U.S. and Japan, which also participates in the Aegis-based program.
The SM-3 IB is integral to the White House’s plan to incrementally improve missile defenses in Europe under the Phased Adaptive Approach. This plan calls for deploying the system on ships and in a new land-based configuration in 2015. Stevison said the program is on track to achieve this fielding date despite a failure in September 2011 on the first flight attempt. A third-stage propulsion anomaly was found to be the culprit. “That anomaly has been … resolved and mitigating performance measures have been instituted into the system,” he says. “We have great confidence that the system is speaking for itself now,” after three successful flight campaigns.