Posted by Courtney Howard
JERVIS BAY, Australia, 19 Jan. 2010. The Royal Australian Navy fired Raytheon Company's Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA anti-air warfare missile during recent tests on-board the HMAS Melbourne.
"With this firing, Melbourne's crew validated the work done to transition warships from SM-1 capability to SM-2," says Ron Shields, Raytheon's SM-2 program director. "This was the first time an SM-2 has been launched by any navy from an upgraded frigate, clearing the way for other fleets to make similar upgrades."
The most widely fielded variant of SM-2, Block IIIA is deployed by the U.S. and eight allied navies. The missile is part of a long-range area air defense capability capitalizing on communication techniques, midcourse guidance, advanced signal processing, and propulsion improvements. These enhancements increase the intercept range to 90 nautical miles (104 statute miles) and provide high- and low-altitude intercept capability and performance against advanced anti-ship missile threats.
Three other Royal Australian Navy frigates are scheduled to be upgraded to the SM-2 configuration. The modifications, along with upgrades to the combat management systems, launchers, and other systems, will improve the ships' capabilities against low-altitude and supersonic targets and provide extended area air defense protection.
"Standard Missile has been the U.S. Navy's primary surface-to-air fleet air defense weapon for more than three decades," says Shields. "This test shows the flexibility of SM-2, and why it is the global air defense missile of choice."
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