Since the entry into service of the Kh47M2 Kinzhal airborne hypersonic missile in 2018, and even more so with the upcoming arrival of the 3M22 Tzirkon hypersonic anti-ship missile, both of Russian origin, the fear of seeing these munitions definitively neutralize Western naval power has been widely relayed in the media. It is true that due to their speed, their lowered trajectory, and for some, their ability to maneuver in the descending phase, these weapons undermine the western anti-missile shield, based on THAAD and SM-3 kinetic impactor missiles. Furthermore, the anti-aircraft missiles currently in service, such as the SM-2, the Aster 30 or the Sea Ceptor, were not designed to intercept targets moving at more than Mach 5. first blush that hypersonic missiles, especially anti-ship versions, could pose a critical threat to naval surface units, especially large units like aircraft carriers, assault ships and logistics ships, yet at the core of the Western naval defensive system.
However, the response to this threat is beginning to emerge, in the United States as in Europe, even though these hypersonic missiles are not yet operational. Thereby, the Pentagon has announced that it intends to use the new SM-6 missile to counter hypersonic threats, at least pending a solution designed specifically for this purpose. Unlike the SM-2 specialized in the interception of aerial targets such as aircraft or sub or supersonic missiles, or the SM-3 designed exclusively to intercept missiles following a ballistic trajectory, the RIM-174 or Standard Missile SM-6, is a missile capable of intercepting aircraft, ballistic missiles and even naval targets, making this missile a highly versatile asset for the US Navy. 6,60 meters long for a mass of 1,5 tons, it has measurements equivalent to the SM-3 and much more imposing than those of the SM-2 of 4m60 and 750 kg. It is also very expensive, around $4,5 million per unit, ie one third of the price of an SM-3, but three times that of an SM-2.
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