RIM-174 Standard ERAM

Standard SM-6

USS John Paul Jones launches a RIM-174 in June 2014
Type Surface-to-air missile
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 2013–present
Used by United States Navy
Royal Australian Navy[1]
Japan Maritime Self Defense Force[2]
Republic of Korea Navy[3]
Production history
Manufacturer Raytheon
Unit cost US$3.5-4 million[4]
Produced 2009–present
Number built 200[5]
(1,800 planned)[6]
Weight 3,300 lb (1,500 kg)
Length 21.5 ft (6.6 m)
Diameter 21 in (0.53 m) max.
Warhead 140 lb (64 kg) blast fragmentation[7]
radar and contact fuze

Engine Two Stage: Solid rocket booster, solid rocket booster/sustainer
Wingspan 61.8 in (1.57 m)
~130–250 nmi (240–460 km; 150–290 mi)[8][9]
Flight ceiling >110,000 ft (34,000 m)
Speed Mach 3.5
Inertial guidance, active radar homing and semi active radar homing
surface ship

The RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM), or Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) 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, and anti-ship cruise missiles in flight, both over sea and land. It can also be used as a hight speed anti-ship missile.[10] The missile uses the airframe of the earlier SM-2ER Block IV (RIM-156A) missile,[11] adding the active radar homing seeker from the AIM-120C AMRAAM in place of the semi-active seeker of the previous design. This will improve the capability of the Standard missile against highly agile targets, and targets beyond the effective range of the launching vessels' target illumination radars. Initial operating capability was planned for 2013 and was achieved on November 27, 2013.[12] The SM-6 is not meant to replace the SM-2 series of missiles, but will serve alongside and provide extended range and increased firepower.[13]


SM-6 Missile Profile.

The Standard ERAM is a two-stage missile with a booster stage and a second stage. It is similar in appearance to the RIM-156A Standard missile. The radar seeker is an enlarged version adapted from the AIM-120C AMRAAM seeker (13.5 in (34 cm) versus 7 in (18 cm)). The missile may be employed in a number of modes: inertial guided to target with terminal acquisition using active radar seeker, semi-active radar homing all the way, or an over the horizon shot with Cooperative Engagement Capability. The missile is also capable of terminal ballistic missile defense as a supplement to the Standard Missile 3 (RIM-161). Unlike other missiles of the Standard family, the Standard ERAM can be periodically tested and certified without removal from the VLS cell.

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. The multi-mission SM-6 is engineered with the aerodynamics of an SM-2, the propulsion booster stack of the SM-3, and the front end configuration of the AMRAAM.[14] Estimates of the SM-6's range vary; its official published range is 150 mi (130 nmi; 240 km),[8] but it could be anywhere from 200 nautical miles (230 mi; 370 km)[15] to as much as 250 nmi (290 mi; 460 km).[16]

The U.S. Navy is adding the Global Positioning System (GPS) to the SM-6 so it has the capability to strike stationary land targets if needed, but given its higher cost than other land attack weapons like the Tomahawk cruise missile it would not likely be used as a primary option.[4] In February 2016, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter confirmed that the SM-6 would be modified to act as an anti-ship weapon;[17] the missile is capable of destroying ships up to the class of frigate, sinking the decommissioned USS Reuben James in an 18 January 2016 demonstration.[9]


Raytheon entered a contract in 2004 to develop the missile for the United States Navy, after the cancellation of the Standard Missile 2 extended range block IVA (RIM-156B). Development started in 2005, followed by testing in 2007. The missile was officially designated RIM-174A in February 2008. Initial low rate production was authorized in 2009.[18] Raytheon received a $93 million contract to begin production of the RIM-174A in September 2009.[19] The first low-rate production missile was delivered in March 2011.[20] SM-6 was approved for full-rate production in May 2013.[21] On November 27, 2013, the Standard ERAM achieved IOC (Initial Operating Capability) when it was fielded on board USS Kidd.[12]

During exercises from 18–20 June 2014, USS John Paul Jones fired four SM-6 missiles. One part of the exercise, designated NIFC-CA AS-02A, resulted in the then-longest surface-to-air engagement in naval history;[22] the exact range of the intercept was not publicly released.[23] On 14 August 2014, an SM-6 was test fired against a subsonic, low-altitude cruise missile target and successfully intercepted it over land. A key element of the test was to assess its ability to discern a slow-moving target among ground clutter.[14] On 24 October 2014, Raytheon announced that two SM-6 missiles intercepted anti-ship and cruise missile targets during "engage on remote" scenarios. A low-altitude, short-range supersonic GQM-163A and a low-altitude, medium-range subsonic BQM-74E were shot down by SM-6s fired from a guided-missile cruiser using targeting information provided by a guided-missile destroyer. Advanced warning and cueing from other ships allows the missile's over-the-horizon capability to be more greatly utilized so a single ship is able defend a larger area.[24] In May 2015, the SM-6 was moved from low-rate to full-rate production, significantly increasing production numbers and further reducing unit cost.[25]

On 28 July 2015, the Navy tested the modified SM-6 Dual I version to successfully intercept a ballistic missile target in the terminal phase, the last few seconds before it would impact; the Dual I upgrade adds a more powerful processor that runs more sophisticated targeting software to hit a warhead descending from the upper atmosphere at extreme speed. This adds to the fleet's missile defense capabilities by allowing it to intercept ballistic missiles that could not be hit by SM-3 missiles, which targets missiles in the midcourse phase. The Navy had used the SM-2 Block IV as a terminal missile interceptor, but the SM-6 combines missile defense with traditional cruise missile and aircraft interdiction in the same package. The SM-6 Dual I configuration is planned to enter service in 2016.[6][26][27]

In January 2016, the SM-6 demonstrated both maximum down range and a maximum cross range intercepts in over-the-horizon, engage-on-remote missions supported by CEC, shattering the previous maximum engagement record it set in June 2014. Five targets were shot down in the test, proving the missile's capability to conduct multiple target scenarios.[5][28] On 30 September 2016, Raytheon announced the SM-6 had again achieved the longest surface-to-air intercept in naval history, breaking its previous long-range intercept record made in January 2016.[29]

See also


  1. Australian Defence White Paper 2009
  2. http://japanspacepolicy.com/tag/japan-sm-6/
  3. "S. Korea to deploy new surface-to-air missiles for Aegis destroyers", Yonhapnews.co.kr, 12 June 2013
  4. 1 2 "Pit LRASM Against Tomahawk For Anti-Ship Missile: VADM Aucoin" – Breakingdefense.com, 5 August 2015
  5. 1 2 SM-6 shatters engagement distance record - PRNewswire.com, 7 March 2016
  6. 1 2 "Successful SM-6 Ballistic Missile Defense Test Set To Expand Capability of U.S. Guided Missile Fleet", U.S. Naval Institute, 4 August 2015
  7. Fixing the US Navy's Anti-Surface Warfare Shortfall - Thediplomat.com, 10 March 2016
  8. 1 2 The Navy's Air Defense Missile Will Become a Supersonic Ship Killer - Popularmechanics.com, 10 February 2016
  9. 1 2 Navy Sinks Former Frigate USS Reuben James in Test of New Supersonic Anti-Surface Missile - News.USNI.org, 7 March 2016
  10. How to Sink Warships: U.S. Navy Reveals Anti-Ship SM-6 Missile
  11. "Raytheon Missile Systems Standard Missile 6", Accessed February 10, 2011.
  12. 1 2 http://www.navsea.navy.mil/NewsView.aspx?nw=NewsWires&id=337
  13. Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr., "Non-Standard: Navy SM-6 Kills Cruise Missiles Deep Inland" – Breakingdefense.com, 19 August 2014
  14. 1 2 Kris Osborn, "Navy Missile Hits Subsonic Target Over Land" – Defensetech.org, 20 August 2014
  15. SECDEF Carter Confirms Navy Developing Supersonic Anti-Ship Missile for Cruisers, Destroyers - News.USNI.org, 4 February 2016
  16. Sinking Enemy Warships: the U.S. Navy’s Fiery New Weapon - Nationalinterest.org, 5 February 2016
  17. Defense secretary says budget plan focuses on high-end ships - Militarytimes.com, 3 February 2016
  18. Raytheon RIM-174 ERAM (SM-6), designation-systems.net, November 24, 2009.
  19. "U.S. Navy Awards Raytheon $93 Million Contract for Standard Missile-6" Raytheon press release, September 9, 2009. Accessed November 8, 2009.
  20. "Raytheon Delivers First Standard Missile-6 to U.S. Navy" Raytheon press release, April 25, 2011. Accessed April 27, 2011.
  21. "Defense Acquisition Board approves Standard Missile-6 full-rate production". Raytheon Company. 22 May 2013.
  22. "US Navy destroyer conducts longest ever surface-air engagement with new SM-6 missiles" – Defense-Update.com, 28 June 2014
  23. "SM-6 Goes Long" – Strategypage.com, 10 July 2014
  24. "Raytheon SM-6s Intercept Targets in 'Engage on Remote' Tests" – Navyrecognition.com, 24 October 2014
  25. "Raytheon's SM-6 Surface-to-Air Missile moves from low-rate to full-rate production" – Navyrecognition.com, 6 May 2015
  26. Audrey McAvoy, "U.S. military tests ballistic missile interceptor off Hawaii", Military Times, Associated Press, 3 August 2015
  27. Syndey J. Freeberg, Jr., "SM-6 Can Now Kill Both Cruise AND Ballistic Missiles" – Breakingdefense.com, 4 August 2015
  28. Anti-Aircraft Missile Sinks Ship: Navy SM-6 - Breakingdefense.com, 7 March 2016
  29. U.S. Navy sets intercept record with SM-6 missile - UPI.com, 30 September 2016

External links

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