Jeffrey LewisAegis Hearts SDACS

Aegis BMD is probably the one well-run missile defense program, one with both a feasible mission and a reasonable amount of technical risk.

So, after a little trouble with their last flight test, I am happy to see that the boys and girls at Raytheon managed a pair of simultaneous intercepts, including the first intercept by the SM-3 Block IA with “a full-capability solid divert and attitude control system”—or SDACS—the system that maneuvers the missile’s kinetic warhead to its target.

SDACS, as Vic has pointed out on this blog, is kind of a big deal.

About the same time the test was being conducted, GAO warned that “performance of the Block 2006 configuration of the Aegis BMD missile is unproven because design changes in the missile’s solid attitude and divert system and one burn pattern of the third stage rocket motor were not flight-tested before they were cut into the production line.”

So, you know, nice that it does work.


As an aside, work is described in two year “Blocks” (i.e. Block 2006) that do not necessarily correspond to the “Blocks” of missiles (i.e. Block IA).

So, I think that by “Block 2006 configuration”, GAO means the SM-3 IA with improvements conducted during FY 2006-2007.

It is worth noting that the SM-3 Block IB, during budget Block 2010, will include “improvements to the Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) and the Advanced Signal Processor (ASP) to support new discrimination algorithms. Other improvements include the integration of a two-color seeker and the development of an improved Throttleable Divert and Attitude Control System.”

Vic’s busy lately, but maybe she will help me make a hot little chart of the budget blocks, missile blocks and improvements to the divert and altitude control systems that could complement her rundown of the all the SM-3 tests.


Anyway, congratulations, Raytheon.

Anybody want to take over a small project in Alaska?


  1. RS (History)

    The link for the rundown does not work….

  2. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Should work, now. Apologies.