The U.S. State Department approved a possible sale of SM-2 Block IIIB Standard missiles with support to South to Korea under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program for an estimated cost of $313.9 million.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 16, 2019. DSCA, as part of the U.S. Department of Defense, provides financial and technical assistance, transfer of defense matériel, training and services to allies, and promotes military-to-military contacts.
The Republic of Korea (ROK)/ South Korea has requested to buy up to 94 rounds of SM-2 Block IIIB Standard Missiles and 12 MK 97 MOD 0 Guidance Sections for SM-2 Block IIIB. Also included is technical assistance: training and training equipment; publication and technical data; and related logistics support, and other related elements of logistics and program support.
The DSCA said in a statement that this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of one of the closest allies in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) Theater.
South Korea is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in that region, said the DSCA statement. The proposed sale will provide a defensive capability while enhancing interoperability with U.S. and other allied forces, the DSCA statement added.
The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) intends to use the SM-2 Block IIIB missiles to supplement it existing inventory; the Navy’s Aegis-equipped Sejong the Great-class guided missile-destroyers are equipped with 80-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) holding SM-2 Block IIIB missiles.
The prime contractor for the sale will be the Raytheon Missile Systems Company, Tucson, Arizona.
The Standard Missile-2 is a premier fleet-area air defense weapon, providing superior anti-air warfare (AAW) and limited anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capability against today’s advanced anti-ship missiles (AShM) and aircraft out to 90 nautical miles and an altitude of 65,000 feet. The SM-2 missile is an integral part of layered defense that protects some of the world’s important naval assets.
SM-2 missile variants have successfully intercepted targets and are lethal against subsonic, supersonic, low- and high- altitude, high-maneuvering, diving, sea-skimming, anti-ship cruise missiles, fighters, bombers and helicopters in an advanced electronic countermeasures environment. The SM-2 missile has extensive area- and self-defense flight test history with more than 2,700 successful flight tests from domestic and international ships.