See This Missile? It Might be the Navy's Most Crucial Weapon in Years

David Axe

David Axe

Security,

The SM-6 is here 

See This Missile? It Might be the Navy's Most Crucial Weapon in Years

The open-versus-closed seeker dichotomy explains why the Navy uses closed-seeker SM-2s and SM-6s for interceptions in the atmosphere, and special, open-seeker SM-3s for interceptions above the atmosphere. Modifying an SM-6 to hit ballistic missiles in space pretty much would make it an SM-3.

The U.S. Navy in late January 2019 confirmed the designation of its newest cruise missile, in the process clarifying its long-term plan for arming its growing fleet of warships.

The plan heavily leans on one missile, in particular. It's the SM-6, an anti-aircraft weapon that quickly is evolving to perform almost every role the Navy assigns to a missile.

(This first appeared earlier in the year.)

The Navy dubbed the newest version of the venerable Tomahawk cruise missile the "Block V" model, Jane's reported. There are two separate variants of the Block V missile, one with an anti-ship warhead and another with a warhead the Navy optimized for striking targets on land.

Raytheon's Tomahawk has been the subject of controversy in Washington, D.C. In order to save money the Obama administration wanted to pause production of the long-range missile, which since the 1980s has been the Navy's main weapon for striking land targets from the sea.

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