Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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US Navy SM-6 Achieves Longest Naval SAM Kill in History


(Photo : US Navy) SM-6 SAM.

The U.S. Navy announces the longest surface-to-air kill in naval history using a Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) that arms the Navy's fleet of Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers and Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers.

SM-6, whose military designation is RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM), is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) produced only for the U.S. Navy by Raytheon. It's designed for extended range anti-air warfare, providing capability against fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and anti-ship cruise missiles in flight, both over sea and land.

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During a recent demonstration, an SM-6 fired from the USS Princeton (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) successfully destroy an over-the-horizon target, probably an unmanned target drone. The Princeton is equipped with the latest Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System.

While the Navy didn't disclose the range of this record breaking kill, that distance was likely in excess of 500 kilometers since the SM-6 in its current form can hurl its 64 kg warhead out to 460 km.

China's YJ-18 anti-ship supersonic cruise missile has a range of 540 km and is deployed aboard the Type 052D guided missile destroyers of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). There are seven ships in this class.

The test at Point Mugu in California aimed to integrate Navy ships, the SM-6 and airborne sensors into a single network using latest Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System.

The mission also demonstrated the combat capabilities that SM-6 brings to Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air, an effort designed to link U.S. Navy ships and airborne sensors into a single network via Cooperative Engagement Capability.

The active radar and extended range of the smart missile allow it to track and destroy over-the-horizon targets, out of sight of operators on deck.

"The multi-mission SM-6 is in a class of its own as it demonstrates its ability to go further, faster and counter more threats to offer maximum mission flexibility," said Mike Campisi, Standard Missile-6 senior program director.

"The missile's ability to defend against so many different threats makes it the go-to solution to meet modern fleet defense needs across the globe."

This is not the first time that SM-6 has shattered its own distance record. The missile broke the previous long-range intercept record in January of this year, a milestone it set itself in June 2014. 

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