Battleship killer: US Navy reveals SM-6 missile

(From the National Interest)

By Dave Majumdar

The U.S. Navy and Raytheon recently demonstrated that the company’s Standard SM-6 missile could destroy an enemy warship for the first time. During the test, USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53)—an Arleigh Burke-class—destroyer sank the decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57) with a SM-6 missile.

SM-6 missile launch

SM-6 missile launch

“This test event demonstrated Raytheon’s decades of continued technological development and partnership with the U.S. Navy,” said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon’s missile systems division, in a statement released onMarch 7. “The ability to leverage the Standard Missile Family and the legacy AWS [Aegis Weapon System] in newly fielded systems brings additional warfighting capability to the U.S. Fleet.”

Until last month—when U. S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter disclosed the closely held secret that the SM-6 is capable of engaging surface targets—most analysts believed that the U.S. Navy lacked any meaningful capability to attack enemy warships. With the revelation that the SM-6 does have anti-surface capability, it is now known that the U.S. Navy does have a long-range supersonic anti-ship missile at its disposal. This capability would be essential should any serious conflict arise with the Chinese or Russian navies, for example. Read more

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