The U.S. Missile Defense Agency awarded Raytheon Missile Systems Co. of Tucson, Ariz., a contract modification worth more than $925 million for continued development of the Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block 2A interceptor, the U.S. Defense Department announced July 25.

The contract will support the development and integration of SM-3 Block 2A through both critical design review and flight test support, according to the announcement. It will raise the total contract value from $583.4 million to $1.5 billion. Raytheon is scheduled to complete associated work by Feb. 28, 2017.

The SM-3 Block 2A is being developed jointly with Japan and is slated for fielding in 2018. The missile interceptor will be bigger and more capable than current versions of the SM-3, designed to launch from ships at sea to intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

“As the threat continues to evolve, so does our ability to counter that threat,” Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems, said in a prepared statement July 25. “We’re honored to work with our Japanese allies to bring this next-generation defensive capability to the world.”

The third phase of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Phased Adaptive Approach to European missile defense includes the placement of 24 next-generation SM-3 Block 2A interceptors in Poland. The variant is designed to counter short-, medium- and intermediate-range missile threats.