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Canada will buy 100 Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) Block IIIC missiles and an equal number of MK 13 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) from the US at an estimated cost of US$500M for installation on its planned 15 Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) ships. This will ensure the country’s ability to operate alongside US and allied naval forces against the full spectrum of naval threats.

According to Raytheon, the principal contractor, SM-2 forms a cornerstone of a ship’s layered defence. The SM-2™ missile prosecutes threats closer to the water’s surface, defending against anti-ship missiles and aircraft out to 90 nautical miles. SM-2 variants include radar seeker technologies in continuous wave and interrupted continuous wave guidance modes, tail controls and solid rocket motor propulsion to engage high-speed manoeuvring threats. This is in addition to updated radar targeting and directional warheads. Block IIIB enhances its predecessor’s capabilities by adding autonomous infrared acquisition with the US Navy planning to use this variant through 2035.

New Raytheon Factory

Raytheon Missiles & Defense restarted its SM-2 production line after multiple countries pooled resources to make a “bundle” purchase. The company reconfigured and modernised its SM-2 missile factory to increase production efficiencies while also signing new agreements with several suppliers. In 2020, Raytheon Missiles & Defense and the Navy successfully flight tested the first SM-2 missile built at the company’s restarted production line. The SM-2 Block IIIB missile launched, flew and provided accurate telemetry data to the range, and engaged an airborne Navy target. The SM-2 has an extensive flight test history, with more than 2,700 successful live firings. Its durability has led navies in several countries to reconfigure their fleets to support SM-2 applications.

J C Menon