The US Department of State has approved the possible sale of Raytheon SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, equipment and support to Australia for use in Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) trials.
The potential Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program deal, which has an estimated cost of US$301 million, covers up to 80 SM-2 Block IIIB vertical-launching tactical all-up rounds and up to 15 MK 97 guidance sections, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated on May 31.
“The SM-2 Block IIIB missiles proposed in this purchase will be used for anti-air warfare test firings during combat systems ship qualification trials for the Royal Australian Navy’s three new Air Warfare Destroyers currently under construction,” the statement read. “The SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, combined with the Aegis combat systems in the AWDs, will provide significantly enhanced area defence capabilities over critical Southeast Asian air and sea lines of communication.
“Australia has already integrated the SM-2 Block IIIA into its Perry class [Adelaide class] FFGs, and recently upgraded its intermediate-level maintenance depot at Defence Establishment Orchard Hills [near Sydney] with new guided missile test equipment capable of maintaining the SM-2 all-up round.”
The SM-2 IIIB is based on the IIIA but adds ’autonomous IR acquisition.