Raytheon Co. components played key roles in the destruction of a ballistic missile target during the latest flight test of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense system. This was the eighth intercept for the GMD system.

During the December 5 test, a Raytheon-built Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) intercepted a ballistic missile in space, over the eastern Pacific Ocean. While communicating with ground sensors, the EKV detected, tracked and discriminated the target. “This highly successful test of the GMD system once again demonstrates Raytheon’s commitment to performance and reliability,” said Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. “We continue to prove the maturity of our kill vehicle technology and our ability to provide this critical capability to the nation.”

While in flight, the EKV calibrated its own position using the stars. The EKV then selected an aimpoint and maneuvered for a direct hit, intercepting the target at a closing velocity of more than 18,000 miles per hour. The target was launched from Kodiak, AK, and the interceptor was fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. In the first demonstration of GMD integrated performance, Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 X-band Radar acquired the target shortly after lift off. Operating in forward-based mode from Juneau, AK, the radar provided track updates to MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense system.

Raytheon’s Upgraded Early Warning Radar, at Beale Air Force Base, CA, tracked the target during its flight downrange. Raytheon’s X-band Radar, deployed aboard the sea-based X-band radar, actively participated by tracking, discriminating and assessing the target. “The UEWR, SBX and AN/TPY-2 performed as expected, demonstrating their missile defense capabilities,” said Pete Franklin, vice president, National and Theater Security Programs for Raytheon Integrated Defense systems.