Raytheon recently began low-rate initial production (LRIP) of parts for the Stunner missile it is jointly developing with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in preparation for the first intercept test this year.

The Stunner is designed to intercept ballistic missiles at roughly 40-250 km (25-155-mi.) ranges; it is being built for integration into Israel’s David’s Sling ballistic missile, rocket and cruise missile defense shield.

Some flight tests have already occurred in southern Israel, but the first intercept attempt is set for later this year, says Michael Booen, vice president of advanced security and directed energy systems for Raytheon. Booen says he expects LRIP to last about 18 months, after which higher production rates will set in.

Meanwhile, Raytheon is pursuing a sale of the missile to Washington. Booen says that Stunner’s low price makes it an attractive option for countering the “raid” threat, or assumption that an enemy will launch many missiles at nearly the same time in an attempt to overwhelm defenses.

If the U.S. buys the missile, Raytheon will produce it stateside for domestic sales. Raytheon’s concept is to integrate Stunner into an existing infrastructure, such as the Army’s PAC-3 system.