SM-3 Block IIA Testing Chronology (July 7, 2016)

SM-3 Block IIA Testing Chronology

SCD PTV-01 (October 2013): SM-3 Cooperative Development (SCD) Propulsion Test Vehicle (PTV)-01. A test of the Block IIA booster rocket and canister, reportedly successful, intended to demonstrate that The Block IIA could be launched from the Vertical Launching System used on U.S. Navy Aegis ships and at Aegis Ashore sites.

SCD CTV-01 (June 6, 2015): SCD Controlled Test Vehicle (CTV)-01.  First flight test of SM-3 Block IIA.  It was not an intercept test and no target was present.  The Missile Defense Agency stated that the test “successfully demonstrated flyout through nosecone deployment and third stage deployment.”[1]  According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the test was delayed by about 5 months.[2]

SCD CTV-02 (December 8, 2015):  Second flight test of SM-3 Block IIA.  It was not an intercept test and no target was present.  According to the MDA, “The missile successfully demonstrated flyout through kinetic warhead ejection.”[3]  The test was originally scheduled for the 4th quarter of FY 2015.  According to the GAO, the delay was due to “delays in hardware deliveries.”[4]

Contract Award (December 9, 2015): The Raytheon Company receives a $543 million contract to produce and deliver up to 17 SM-3 Block IIAs for testing and initial deployment.[5]

SFTM-01 (4Q, FY 2016): SCD Flight Test Standard Missile (FTM)-01.  First intercept test of SM-3 Block IIA interceptor.  This test was earlier scheduled for 3Q, FY 2016. Target will be a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM – range between 1,000 and 3,000 km).  The test will use Aegis BMD version 5.1 (the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) phase 3 version) with the baseline 9.C2 combat system (the “C” indicates an existing Aegis destroyer that has been upgraded to baseline 9, which enables it to conduct anti-air and anti-ballistic missile operations simultaneously).  This test will also be the first flight test for MDA’s new MRBM T1/T2 target missile.[6]

Cancelled Test (FY 2016)??: A May 2016 Senate report states that delays in deliveries of SM-3 Block IIA interceptors have resulted in “at least one missed flight test.”[7]  A May 2015 GAO report also indicates that there were to be two Block IIA intercepts in FY-2016 instead of the single test in this chronology.[8]

It is unclear (to me) exactly what this missing test is.  FY 2015 and earlier MDA budget documents show SFTM-1 consisting of two events – E1 and E2.  In the FY 2016 documents, only the E2 event remains, which apparently became the single SFTM-1 test in the FY 2017 budget documents and in this chronology.  However, the deleted SFTM-1 E1 event appears not to have been an intercept test but only a simulated intercept (no SM-3 to be launched) of an actual missile target.

SFTM-02 (2Q, FY2017): Second intercept test of a SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, also against a MRBM target.  Under current plans, this would be the last flight and intercept test under the U.S.-Japan SM-3 Cooperative Development Program.  This test was earlier scheduled for 1Q FY 2017.  According to the GAO, the Block IIA program has experienced “technical challenges and schedule delays, some of which are expected to continue to impact developmental efforts through 2017.”[9]

FTM-29 (1Q, FY 2018): Third intercept test of a SM-3 Block IIA interceptor.  It is intended as a launch-on-remote (using a TPY-2 radar) intercept of an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM, range 3,000-5,500) km.  According to MDA Director Vice Admiral Syring, this test “will begin [the] transition to testing the SM-3 Block IIA within the U. S. BMDS architecture with the upgraded Aegis Baseline 9 weapon system and BMD 5.1, for at sea and ashore deployment.”[10]

SM-3 Block II Deployment (4Q, FY 2018): Current plans call for the SM-3 Block IIA to be deployed at the Aegis Ashore site in Poland and on one or more Aegis destroyers homeported in Rota, Spain by the end of calendar year 2018.

FTO-03 E1 (3Q FY 2018): Flight Test Operational-03, Event 1; FTO-03 E2 (1Q, FY 2019); FTO-03 E3 (?):  In 2014, MDA Director Syring stated that these three operational tests were scheduled for the SM-3 Block IIA (to be held in 3Q FY 2018, 3Q FY 2018 and 4Q FY 2018, respectively).[11]  A May 2015 GAO report also stated that there would be three SM-3 Block IIA “operational events” in FY 2018.[12]  However, the MDA’s FY 2017 budgetary materials show a 2Q delay for FTO-03 E2 and does not list FTO-03 E3 at all.

————————————————————————–

[1] Missile Defense Agency, “U.S.-Japan Cooperative Development Project Conducts Successful Flight Test of Standard Missile-3 Block IIA,” News Release, June 6, 2015.  Online at http://www.mda.mil/news/15news0006.html.

[2] Government Accountability Office, “Missile Defense: Ballistic Missile Defense System Testing Delays Affecting Delivery of Capabilities,” GAO-16-333R, April 28, 2016, p. 46.

[3] Missile Defense Agency, “U.S.-Japan Cooperative Development Project Conducts Successful Flight Test of Standard Missile-3 Block IIA,” News Release, December 8, 2015.  Online at http://www.mda.mil/news/15news0009.html.

[4] GAO-16-333R, p. 46.

[5] Raytheon Company, “Raytheon receives $543 million for SM-3 Block IIA production and delivery,” News Release, December 9, 2015.  Online at http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/2015-12-09-Raytheon-receives-543-million-for-SM-3-Block-IIA-production-and-delivery.

[6] Government Accountability Office, “Missile Defense: “Opportunities Exist to Reduce Acquisition Risk and Improve Reporting on System Capabilities,” GAO-15-345, May 2015, p. 68.  Online at: http://gao.gov/assets/680/670048.pdf.

[7] “…since the previous budget request, programmed costs for manufacturing of the initial SM-3 Block IIA interceptors have increased 40 percent and costs for SM-3 Block IIA development have increased 29 percent.  Further, delivery of SM-3 Block IIA interceptors has been delayed over three fiscal quarters, resulting in at least one missed flight test.”    Senate Report 114-263, May 26, 2016, p.186. https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/srpt263/CRPT-114srpt263.pdf

[8] GAO-15-345, p. 53.

[9] GAO-16-333R, p. 46

[10] Statement of Vice Admiral J.D. Syring, Subcommittee of Strategic Forces, House Armed Services Committee, April 14, 2016.  Online at http://www.mda.mil/global/documents/pdf/FY17_Written_Statement_HASC_SF_Admiral_Syring_14042016.pdf.

[11] Written response by MDA Director Vice Admiral Syring to a question from Senator Mark Udall, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senate Armed Services Committee, April 2, 2014, p. 171.  Online at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-113shrg91192/pdf/CHRG-113shrg91192.pdf.

[12] GAO-15-345, p. 53.

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1 Comment

  1. Max

     /  January 27, 2017

    The SFTM-01 Test was set for 1/26 with a window of about 0200-0400 EST but it was pushed back about 24 hours. I have not heard if it happened but should find out when I get in to the office this morning.

    Reply

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