The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Japan of Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $450 million. The Government of Japan has requested to buy up to thirty-two (32) Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles (in two tranches of 16). Also included are MK 21 Vertical Launch System (VLS) canisters; obsolescence engineering, integration and test activity; canister handling equipment, spares, training and training equipment/aids; technical publications/data; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total program cost is $450 million.
The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missiles and Defense (RMD), Tucson, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. The proposed sale will improve Japan’s Air Defense and Ballistic Missile Defense capabilities against potential adversaries in the region. It will also provide the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance with the latest and most advanced capabilities, reducing Japan’s reliance on U.S. Forces for the defense of Japan and further improving U.S.-Japan military interoperability. Japan will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces.
The Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) or RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM) is a missile in current production for the United States Navy. It was designed for extended range anti-air warfare (ER-AAW) purposes providing capability against fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-ship cruise missiles in flight, both over sea and land, and terminal ballistic missile defense. The missile uses the airframe of the earlier SM-2ER Block IV (RIM-156A) missile, adding the active radar homing seeker from the AIM-120C AMRAAM in place of the semi-active seeker of the previous design.
The SM-6 offers extended range over previous SM-2 series missiles, primarily being able to intercept very high altitude or sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, and is also capable of performing terminal phase ballistic missile defense. It can discriminate targets using its dual-mode seeker, with the semi-active seeker relying on a ship-based illuminator to highlight the target, and the active seeker having the missile itself send out an electromagnetic signal; the active seeker has the ability to detect a land-based cruise missile amid ground features, even from behind a mountain. Estimates of the SM-6’s range vary; its official published range is 130 nmi (150 mi; 240 km), but it could be anywhere from 200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km) to as much as 250 nmi (290 mi; 460 km).