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In 1992, the Terrier LEAP (Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile) demonstration program culminated in four flight tests and demonstrated the feasibility of theater-wide ballistic missile defense. The SM-3 KW is evolved from the MDA developed Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP). The KW uses an Infrared (IR) sensor to detect a target in space and a Solid Divert and Attitude Control System.
There are three primary differences between the Block IA and IB interceptors. The Block IB will provide a two-color seeker (not the one-color seeker employed on the SM-3 Block IA) and a Throttleable Divert and Attitude Control System (TDACS). It will also include the Advanced Signal Processor to improve the ability of the seeker to distinguish between threat RVs and countermeasures. These improvements will expand the battle space and allow for detection, acquisition and intercepts against more diverse and longer-range threats up to Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs).