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  • Global Military Communications

General Dynamics Mission Systems to provide optics and structures for the SM-3 Interceptor

General Dynamics Mission Systems announced today that it has been selected by Raytheon Missiles and Defense to provide advanced optical components and structures for the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB and SM-3 Block IIA interceptors with two firm-fixed price contracts valued at $43 million. The estimated completion date of the contracts is 2023.

A Raytheon Standard Missile (SM-3) launches from a U.S. Navy ship. (Image Credit: Raytheon)

The SM-3 IB Interceptor is a defensive weapon used by the U.S. Navy to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Instead of using a warhead to destroy its target, Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s interceptor uses sheer force to hit threats with the force of a 10-ton truck traveling 600 mph. The SM-3 IIA multi-mission interceptor engages targets at higher altitude, and recently intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile target in a flight demonstration.

In order to achieve this extremely high level of accuracy the SM-3 IB and IIA uses seekers that function as a navigation system. General Dynamics will provide Raytheon with specialized optical components and structures that make up the seeker, including a small telescope, which track the target and provide information to guidance and calculations that guides the missile and enables the interceptor to be extremely precise in its engagement.

“These optical components and structures are extremely strong and lightweight, they are one-third the weight of aluminum and six times stiffer than steel making them ideal for harsh environments like space,” said John Schulz, director of structures at General Dynamics Mission Systems. “For more than five decades we have been one of the few companies in the world with the expertise and capabilities to design and machine these components and structures to achieve the virtually unmatched tolerances required for these advanced optical systems.”

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