Raytheon SM-3 Block IIA

A Raytheon missile interceptor is launched from the USS John Paul Jones off Hawaii.

Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems has been awarded a $66.4 million contract add-on for testing of a land-based version of its Standard Missile-3 Block IIA ballistic-missile interceptor, according to Pentagon contract notice.

Raytheon will provide support for flight testing of the SM-3 Block IIA version to be used with the Aegis Ashore launch system, which is already in place in Romania with an earlier variant of the SM-3.

The modification brings the total cumulative value of the contract to about $2.1 billion. The work will be performed in Tucson with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2018, the Defense Department said.

Under development with Japan, the SM-3 IIA is larger and faster than current deployed versions of the missile interceptor. The new missile is expected to complete a series of final, operational flight tests sometime in 2018. 

A SM-3 Block IIA hit its mark in an intercept test in February. A similar test in June failed but the Missile Defense Agency has ruled out any problems with the missile or launch systems.