US Approves Purchase of Block I Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) for Japan

US Approves Purchase of Block I Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) for Japan
US Approves Purchase of Block I Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) for Japan

Tokyo - Japan has received the green light from the US Department of State for the purchase of Block I Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) missiles and related equipment. This was announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on its website on October 20. The DSCA subsequently submitted the necessary certifications to notify Congress of the potential US$450 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS).

Previously, the Japanese government had requested to purchase up to 32 SM-6 Block I missiles (in two 16 stages), MK 21 Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes, obsolescence engineering, integration and test activities, tube handling equipment, spare parts, equipment/ training assistance, publications/technical data, US government and contractor technical and logistical support services, and other related elements.

DSCA said the proposed sale would support the foreign policy goals and national security goals of the United States by enhancing the security of key allies who are forces for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary contractor for the FMS program is Raytheon Missiles and Defense (RMD), Tucson, Arizona. No offset agreement has been proposed in connection with this potential sale, wrote DSCA.

Regarding SM-6, this missile is also known as RIM-174. It is a ship-launched anti-air and anti-surface missile interceptor. The SM-6 has sea-based anti-air and anti-surface terminal defense capabilities. This missile can intercept ballistic and cruise missiles.

The SM-6 missile was first used by the US Navy in December 2013. In 2016, the SM-6 missile successfully hit its first surface target. This missile reinforces the US Navy's concept of lethal deployment, the ability to strike from any ship or position.

The SM-6 missile is offered in three variants namely SM-6 Block I, SM-6 Block IA, and SM-6 Dual I. The SM-6 Block I variant was initially deployed aboard aegis destroyers, which were built around the aegis combat system. This new variant is powered by highly advanced rocket boosters and a sophisticated rocket motor. It has gone through a number of tests and successfully intercepted cruise missiles.

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