Related Article: Ships That Sink Satellites
Standard Missile-3 is being
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developed for Aegis BallisticMissile Defense (BMD) as partof the Missile Defense Agency�sBallistic Missile Defense System(BMDS). The Aegis BMDsystem integrates SM-3 with theAegis Weapon System (AWS)aboard U.S. Navy cruisersto provide an umbrella ofprotection against short tointermediate-range ballisticmissile threats. SM-3 iscompatible with the MK 41Vertical Launching System(VLS) deployed on many U.S.Navy and international surfacecombatants.
As a ballistic missile threat risesabove the horizon, ship�s radaracquires, begins tracking, andthe weapon system beginscalculating the engagementsolution. Upon commandfrom the ship�s weapon system,the SM-3 boosts out of thelauncher and establishes radiocommunication with the ship.
After MK 72 booster burnout,the MK 104 Dual ThrustRocket Motor (DTRM) ignites.In-flight communicationsfrom the ship guide the missiletoward the predicted interceptpoint. After MK 104 burnoutand separation, the MK 136Third Stage Rocket Motor(TSRM) ignites, propelling thethird stage out of the atmosphere.Throughout its flight,the missile continues to receivein-flight target updates fromthe ship to refine the interceptguidance solution. The TSRMcontains two separate pulsesthat can be initiated to optimizethe engagement timeline.During flyout, the third stagepitches over and ejects thenosecone, exposing the SM-3Kinetic Warhead (KW).Following TSRM burnoutroughly 30 seconds beforeintercept, the SM-3 KW separatesfrom the third stage andimmediately searches for thetarget based on pointing datareceived from the ship. TheKW acquires the ballisticmissile warhead with itslong-wavelength imaginginfrared seeker. The KW�s SolidDivert and Attitude ControlSystem (SDACS) preciselymaneuvers the KW to enablea hit-to-kill intercept. As theKW closes on the target, it willidentify the lethal payload areaand shift its guidance aimpointto ensure a lethal hit, destroyingthe target with more than 130megajoules of kinetic energy,or the equivalent of a 10 ton trucktraveling at 600 miles per hour.
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