Raytheon Co. components played key roles in the destruction of a ballistic missile target in the latest successful flight test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. The Raytheon-built Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) intercepted the ballistic missile 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 test several hundred miles west of California.

The test marked the first time an operationally configured ground-based interceptor was launched from an operational GMD site, Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The target was launched from Kodiak, AK. This test, designated Flight Test-2 (FT-2), did not have a target interception as a primary objective, but it demonstrated the EKV’s ability to successfully detect, track, discriminate and destroy a target in space. “This highly successful test of the GMD system demonstrates Raytheon’s systems performance and reliability,” said Louise Francesconi, Raytheon’s Missile Systems president. “FT-2 clearly demonstrates the maturity of our technology and our ability to provide this critical capability to the nation.”

“We are pleased that once again the Beale UEWR performed as expected, successfully demonstrating its missile defense capability,” said Pete Franklin, vice president, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, Missile Defense Business Area. “This test confirms the radar’s ability to provide information to the GMD Ground Fire Control to support an intercept.” During the flight, the EKV received target updates from the In-flight Interceptor Communications System and performed a star shot to calibrate its own position. The EKV observed the target complex with its advanced multi-color infrared seeker and successfully selected the target. During the end game, as the target grew in the seeker’s field of view, EKV selected the aimpoint and maneuvered for a direct, lethal hit. The closing velocity was in excess of 15,000 miles per hour. This test follows another successful GMD mission in December 2005, which demonstrated the system’s capability to launch a ground-based interceptor, conduct EKV separation and deliver the EKV to the desired point in space and time.

Raytheon is a major subcontractor to the Boeing Co. on the GMD program, providing the EKV, the UEWR and the radar component for the Sea-based X-band (SBX) radar. Continuing the Raytheon heritage with UHF phased-array radar, the Beale UEWR program upgrades existing Pave Paws and Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radars by adding missile defense capabilities while retaining missile warning and space surveillance missions. The UEWR provides mid-course target detection and tracking for the GMD.