Raytheon Co. components built under contract to the Boeing Co., the prime contractor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, played key roles in the destruction of a ballistic missile target during GMD’s latest successful flight test conducted September 28, by the US Missile Defense Agency. Raytheon-built Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) intercepted the ballistic target in space over the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Raytheon-developed Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR) at Beale Air Force Base, CA, successfully tracked the target system for approximately 15 minutes during its flight down range to the intercept point, several hundred miles west of California.
The Raytheon-developed X-band Radar (XBR), the primary payload of the Sea-based X-band Radar (SBX), actively participated in this test by tracking, discriminating and assessing the target. While in flight, the EKV received target updates from the In-flight Interceptor Communication System and performed a star shot to calibrate its own position. The EKV observed the target complex with its advanced multicolor infrared seeker and successfully selected the target from other objects in space. During the end game, as the target grew in the seeker’s field of view, the EKV selected the aim point and maneuvered for a direct, lethal hit. As the primary ground-based sensor for this mission, the UEWR successfully acquired, tracked and classified the target system, providing critical targeting data to the system under test. The UEWR achieved all mission objectives as it continues its flawless support to GMD flight tests and path to Air Force operational acceptance. Positioned in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the XBR initiated track on the target complex and collected valuable data, which will be used to hone algorithms for future flight tests. The radar achieved all mission objectives. This test marks the third successful mission that the Sea-based XBR has participated in since September 2006.
“This highly successful test of the GMD system once again demonstrates Raytheon’s systems performance and reliability,” said Louise Francesconi, Raytheon Missile System president. “The test clearly demonstrates the maturity of our technology and our ability to provide this critical capability to the nation.” “The XBR and UEWR demonstrated exceptional performance in this critical test of US missile defense capability,” said Pete Franklin, vice president, National & Theater Security Programs for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). “This latest exercise confirms the radars’ ability to gather information necessary to support an intercept.” The test marked the second time an operationally configured ground-based interceptor was launched from an operational GMD site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The target was launched from Kodiak, Alaska. Designated Flight Test Ground-based Midcourse Defense-03a (FTG-03a), the test included a planned intercept of the target as one of its objectives. Other objectives included the EKV’s ability to successfully detect, track, discriminate a target in space and communicate with ground-based sensors, and included participation of the SBX in the test. This test again demonstrated the system’s capability to launch a ground-based interceptor and perform separation and delivery of the EKV to the desired point in space and time.