Category Archives: Rocket

A2/AD missile design

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully completed the second flight test of its new Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) missile, demonstrating capabilities that will meet key objectives for the upcoming Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW) program. The test was completed utilizing a company-owned Bombardier CRJ-700 aircraft as the testbed for the air to surface mission computer and sensors.

Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW)
The Northrop Grumman A2/AD missile mission computer and sensors integrated on test aircraft (Northrop Grumman photo)

Northrop Grumman invested to actively mature and test its A2/AD missile design, which meets U.S. Air Force requirements for SiAW and other programs. Featuring open architecture interfaces, the Northrop Grumman solution will bridge current requirements while enabling rapid future upgrades to meet changing mission requirements.

«As a missile prime, we play a vital role in pioneering the most innovative solutions that increase survivability and lethality against new and emerging adversary threats», said Mary Petryszyn, president, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems. «Our lean-forward approach enables us to innovate at rapid speeds while reducing cost for our customers».

This second flight test demonstrated the mission capability of the missile sensor systems combined with the mission computer. This is the first of a new series of company funded flight tests which will continue to test the system with more stressing scenarios in preparation for the missile launch in 2022.

«We have taken significant steps to mature our missile design, providing capabilities for the U.S. Air Force SiAW program and other programs», said Dan Olson, vice president and general manager, weapon systems, Northrop Grumman. «Leveraging our digital engineering expertise to accelerate timelines, our first complete missile is planned to be built and ready for launch in 2022».

The Northrop Grumman A2/AD solution leverages lessons learned on the Navy’s Advanced Antiradiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER), engineering manufacturing and development, low-rate initial production and integration work on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. The Northrop Grumman A2/AD missile is capable of being integrated on a variety of aircraft.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Next Generation Interceptor

The Northrop Grumman Corporation and Raytheon Technologies Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) team has completed its System Requirements Review (SRR) and is proceeding with initial system design, further risk reduction testing, and critical component qualification activities.

Next Generation Interceptor (NGI)
The Northrop Grumman and Raytheon team complete a major milestone as the work to ensure the Missile Defense Agency’s Next Generation Interceptor is ready to protect the homeland from incoming threats

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) approved the SRR, which was completed ahead of schedule, and is the first major technical review for the Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies NGI homeland defense interceptor program. This achievement comes after Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies demonstrated its NGI Common Software Factory, which enables rapid development, integration and delivery in a DevSecOps environment.

«We’re leveraging our two decades of performance on the current Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI)», said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, launch and missile defense systems, Northrop Grumman. «With our combined workforce, extensive expertise and state-of-the-art facilities, we will deliver a highly capable new interceptor that will protect our nation against long-range missile threats for decades to come».

The Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies team is leveraging high-fidelity model-based systems engineering, and hardware manufacturing in customer-certified facilities. The team is also conducting internally-funded risk reduction hardware development and testing to ensure deployment of NGI in the rapid timeline the nation requires.

«Raytheon is the nation’s provider of kill vehicle payloads that maneuver in space to destroy missile threats, with 47 successful exo-atmospheric intercepts achieved to date», said Tay Fitzgerald, vice president of Strategic Missile Defense, Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «Our digital system design approach gives us high confidence in our solution going into the preliminary design review».

The Northrop Grumman-led NGI team brings flight-proven missile defense experience to the NGI program, including expertise in: ground systems, battle management, command and control, interceptor boost vehicles, kill vehicles, agile processes and certified manufacturing capabilities. The team is committed to delivering a highly capable, affordable and low-risk NGI solution that meets the customer’s schedule and mission requirements.

Aegis Combat System

Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) attained another milestone when the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) achieved «light off» on its Aegis Combat System, marking the beginning of on-board system testing and crew training for the ship.

USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125)
The U.S. Navy’s new guided missile destroyer, USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) successfully launched at Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on June 4, 2021, and achieved Light Off on its Aegis Combat System on December 17, 2021. Raytheon Missiles & Defense is working with the shipbuilder to integrate the AN/SPY-6(V)1, also called SPY-6, integrated Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) onto the ship (Photo: Huntington Ingalls Industries)

«This important milestone kicks off onboard testing and training with naval crews on the SPY-6 radars», said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «SPY-6 is the world’s most advanced surface maritime radar, and our team is ready to provide training and support to the Navy through this phase and beyond».

The AN/SPY-6(V) Family of Radars is the newest radar system for the U.S. Navy, performing air and missile defense on seven classes of ships. The SPY-6 family can defend against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, hostile aircraft and surface ships simultaneously. When compared to legacy radars, SPY-6 will bring new capabilities to the surface fleet, such as advanced electronic warfare protection and enhanced detection abilities.

SPY-6 is scalable and modular to support production for the U.S. and partner nations across all variants. This commonality supports standardized logistics and training for those who work on the radars.

Final test firing

MBDA’s new Marte Extended Range (ER) anti-ship missile successfully completed its final test firing at the end of November 2021.

Marte ER
MBDA’s Marte ER has successful final test firing

Carried out at an Italian test range in Sardinia, the firing was a key milestone in the validation process of Marte ER. It provided extra confidence in the performance level and reliability of this new missile.

A telemetric production standard missile with all functional capabilities and production hardware embedded was used. The only exception was the use of an inert warhead instead of a live one. The ground based launching system used was also in its final hardware and software configuration.

Using its mission planning software, the missile carried out a long-range sea skimming flight. It made three main turns and a pop-up/dive manoeuvre during the last turn. A straight segment then followed up to the Radio Frequency (RF) seeker activation point. Target identification, selection and tracking was extremely fast and proportional guidance started soon after.

During its terminal phase, the missile successfully performed its anti-Close-in Weapon Systems manoeuvre, hitting the target just above the water line at high transonic speed. This confirmed the outstanding effectiveness of Marte ER’s terminal guidance with its new solid state RF Seeker.

The firing also showed Marte ER’s turbojet engine behaviour was excellent for both “in flight start time” and thrust level.

This firing was the last one in the development path of Marte ER, which will enter into operation early next year.

Long-Range Radar

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and the Space Force (USSF) marked the completion of construction on the Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) site at Clear Space Force Station, Alaska, during a ceremony on Monday, December 7, 2021.

Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR)
The Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) at Clear Space Force Station, Alaska, is a multi-mission, multi-face radar designed to provide search, track and discrimination capability in support of U.S. homeland defense, October 26, 2021

The multi-mission LRDR is designed, for now, to better track incoming ballistic missiles. It combines the capabilities of lower frequency radars – which can track multiple objects in space at long range, but are not able to help warfighters determine which objects are a threat – with the capabilities of higher-frequency radars, which have a more limited field of view but are better able to «discriminate» among multiple objects and figure out what of those is dangerous.

As ballistic missiles are launched and shed portions of themselves along their trajectory – including decoy and countermeasure material – the LRDR will help to determine which of those objects must be targeted by the missile defense system.

When fully operational, the multi-face LRDR – equipped with a 220-degree wide field of view and arrays measuring 60 feet/18.28 meters high by 60 feet/18.28 meters wide – will provide the ability to search, track and discriminate multiple, small objects in space, including all classes of ballistic missiles. Future iterations of the radar’s software will allow it to also track hypersonic missiles.

The information the LRDR provides will increase the effectiveness of the missile defense system and help the U.S. Northern Command better defend the United States.

The capabilities the LRDR provides will also serve as a new kind of deterrent against potential missile attacks by adversaries, said Army Lieutenant General A.C. Roper, the deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command.

«For years, the Department of Defense has subscribed to a mindset of deterrence through punishment – taking advantage of our global response to execute retaliatory strikes», Roper said.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has challenged the military to instead approach deterrence from a different perspective: deterrence through denial, Roper said.

«It’s a defense designed to give our potential adversaries pause», he said. «It is the type of deterrence that shifts their cost-benefit calculus, providing doubt that an attack will be successful. And the LRDR helps to shift that calculus».

The general told those responsible for designing and building the new LRDR system that they have given potential adversaries something to think about if they’re contemplating an attack on the U.S. homeland.

«This long-range discrimination radar is designed to defend the homeland by providing the unparalleled ability to search, track and discriminate multiple objects simultaneously», Roper said. «This radar provides a much-needed improvement to Northcom’s homeland ballistic missile defense mission, ultimately resulting in more effective and efficient employment of the ground-based interceptors».

Full Operational Capability (FOC) for the LRDR is expected in 2023, Navy Vice Admiral Jon A. Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency said. Right now, the newly built LRDR will be evaluated and integrated into existing systems.

«This initial delivery is an important step to declare that we’re done with a major construction. We are now fully into the test mode of this radar», Hill said. «That testing is so critical because it pushes you right into the integration, command and control into ground-based midcourse defense. That integration work will be complete and, then, in 2023, we’ll be able to do operational acceptance for Northern Command».

Right now, the primary requirement met by the LRDR is against a ballistic missile threat, but in future iterations of the LRDR, tracking of hypersonic weapons can also be included without significant changes to the system, Hill said.

«That is what the radar filters are designed to go after», Hill said. «To bring in what I call a filter – which means you can then space your tracking and your timing to go to hypersonic – that’s not a big leap … that is a software upgrade, but it is not the driving requirement for LRDR today».

Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR)
The LRDR complex also includes a mission control facility, power plant and maintenance facility, October 24, 2021

Sky Sabre

A totally integrated state-of-the-art air defence system recently delivered to the Royal Artillery is propelling the British Army to the very forefront of ground based air defence missile technology.

Sky Sabre
Sky Sabre air defence missile system

The Royal Artillery has accepted into its arsenal the Sky Sabre air defence system, providing a step change in the British Army’s medium range air defence capability and with it, unprecedented speed, accuracy, performance and target acquisition.

Sky Sabre, as the name implies, is very much at the cutting edge replacing its venerable predecessor Rapier which recently entered its fifth decade of operation with British Forces. Rapier has seen service in Kuwait, the South Atlantic, and probably most visibly when it deployed to numerous London parks to combat any security threats during the 2012 Olympics.

The new system is operated by 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, part of 7 Air Defence Group, based at Baker Barracks on the South Coast’s Thorney Island. The Regiment is currently rolling out an extensive training package to transition from Rapier to the new system, and what a system that is.

To put into context how advanced Sky Sabre is, Major Tim Oakes, the Senior Training Officer for the training programme and one of the lynch pins in the delivery of the system, said, «Sky Sabre is so accurate and agile that it is capable of hitting a tennis ball sized object travelling at several times the speed of sound. In fact, it can control the flight of 24 missiles simultaneously whilst in flight, guiding them to intercept 24 separate targets. It is an amazing capability».

Delivered by the MOD’s procurement arm, Defence Equipment and Support, the system comprises of three separate components. Although pictured in the accompanying photographs together, in reality in the battlespace they would be expected to operate at distances of up to 15 km/9.32 miles apart.

First of all, there are the eyes and ears of the system and for Sky Sabre that is the Giraffe Agile Multi Beam 3D medium-range surveillance radar. Its radar rotates atop an extending mast which allows it to be elevated above tree lines and other obstructions to identify low flying intruders. The Giraffe can see a full 360 degrees out to a range of 120 km/74.56 miles. It is a tried and very much trusted system that has seen numerous upgrades since it first entered service.

The second component lies at the very heart of the whole system; it is, of course, the Battle Management and Intelligence suite. In essence, the command and control centre. This capability that links up the radar with the missiles and sends them to their targets. It also provides what is known as Link 16; this is a tactical datalink that allows Sky Sabre to share its information with Royal Navy vessels, the Royal Air Force, and our allies. It means that the system can be integrated wholly and contribute fully with joint, combined, or NATO operations.

Finally, we get to the sharp end; the third component is the Land Ceptor intelligent launcher and missile itself. At 99 kg/218 lbs. each, the missiles are double the weight of the Rapier it replaces and have three times the range. This is the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) that reaches speeds of 2300 mph/3701 km/h and can eliminate fighter aircraft, drones, and even laser-guided smart bombs.

They are housed in eight silos mounted on the rear of their mobile launcher and when fired they launch in a unique omni-directional manner that significantly reduces its signature making it less of a target for enemy counter measures. When exhausted, the Land Ceptor launcher can be replenished with a new set of eight CAMMs in less than half the time that it took to re-arm Rapier.

Sky Sabre’s CAMM is the same missile that is used on board ships (Sea Ceptor) and shares components with the Royal Air Force munitions (ASRAAM). This commonality across all services brings with it huge logistical efficiencies as well as significant cost savings.

The Commanding Officer of 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Lane, said: «We will be able to compete with our peers and take on some of the toughest adversaries. It gives us a capability we have not had before; this new missile system with its new launcher and world-class radar will absolutely put us at the forefront of ground-based air defence».

16 Regiment Royal Artillery is now accepting into service the first tranche of this significant upgrade in the UK’s ability to defend itself from the air. Intended further procurements of Sky Sabre-based systems will be configured to operate in all parts of the globe. This means it could expect to see service world-wide much like its predecessor Rapier that will now gradually be phased out of service and returned to its scabbard!

Successful Flight Tests

In flight tests on November 4, Lockheed Martin demonstrated significant milestones for the PATRIOT Advanced Capability – 3 (PAC-3) program, including the first integration of the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) with the U.S. Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS).

PAC-3 MSE
Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3 MSE Reaches Major Milestones During Successful Flight Tests

During the flight test series, two PAC-3 MSE missiles successfully engaged from IBCS and intercepted Tactical Ballistic Missile (TBM) threats over White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico. These marked the first Field Surveillance Program (FSP) tests for PAC-3 MSE. FSP missions confirm the reliability and readiness of fielded PAC-3 missiles and normally occur annually.

«PAC-3 continues to build upon our rich history of reliable and innovative missile defense while also demonstrating our compatibility with one of the U.S. Army’s foremost modernization priorities to stay ahead of advanced threats», said Brenda Davidson, vice president of PAC-3 Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

An evolution of the battle-proven PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI), the PAC-3 MSE boasts a dual-pulse solid rocket motor, providing increased performance in altitude and range to defend against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.

Tomahawk Block Va

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, was awarded a $20 million contract for low-rate production of the Maritime Strike Tomahawk cruise missile Block Va, which includes navigation and communication upgrades in addition to an advanced multi-mode seeker for engaging moving targets at sea.

Tomahawk Block Va
U.S. Navy awards Raytheon Missiles & Defense $20 million contract for Maritime Strike Tomahawk

«This award is a significant and essential step toward addressing the U.S. Navy’s need to counter moving targets at sea», said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «Maritime Strike Tomahawk Block Va production ensures our Sailors have the most advanced long-range, first-strike weapons available to defeat advancing threats».

Tomahawk Block V series:

  • Block V: A modernized TACTOM with upgraded navigation and communication;
  • Block Va: Block V that can strike moving targets at sea;
  • Block Vb: Block V, with a joint multi-effects warhead that can hit more diverse land targets.

The Tomahawk cruise missile is a precision weapon that launches from ships and submarines and can strike targets precisely from 1,000 miles/1,609 km away, even in heavily defended airspace. U.S. and allied militaries have flight-tested the GPS-enabled Tomahawk 550 times and used it in combat more than 2,300 times. Its most recent use came in 2018, when U.S. Navy warships and submarines launched 66 Tomahawk missiles at Syrian chemical weapon facilities.

Lightweight Missile

The Royal Navy has successfully tested a new missile system designed to protect the UK’s new aircraft carriers from attacks by swarms of small boats.

Martlet
Royal Navy tests new missile system for defence against small boat attacks

During operations in the Pacific Ocean with the UK Carrier Strike Group, HMS Defender’s Wildcat HMA Mk2 helicopter of 815 Naval Air Squadron fired the Martlet lightweight missile at an inflatable target in the sea – known in the navy as the big red tomato.

It is the first time this type of missile has been launched on frontline operations by the Royal Navy after rigorous testing at ranges off the UK coast by the Yeovilton-based Wildcat Maritime Force last year.

In 0.3 seconds, the missile detached from the Wildcat HMA Mk2 helicopter, accelerating to one and a half times the speed of sound towards its target.

The purpose of the missile system is to add another layer of protection around the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, with the Wildcats able to carry up to 20 of the laser-sensor missiles that can be used against stationary and moving targets.

Captain James Blackmore, Carrier Strike Group’s Air Wing Commander, said: «Martlet is a new air to surface lightweight multi-role missile recently introduced into service for the Wildcat helicopter and provides an offensive and defensive capability against small boats and maritime targets that may pose a threat to the Carrier Strike Group. The Wildcat is a phenomenally versatile aircraft and the inclusion of up to 20 missiles on each of the four embarked aircraft adds yet another potent capability to the Air Wing and the Carrier Strike Group. This first firing during an operational deployment not only gives confidence in the end-to-end weapon kill chain but also offers an overt demonstration of one of the many strike capabilities provided by the Air Wing from within the Task Group».

HMS Defender (D36) is currently deployed with the UK Carrier Strike’s Group on its maiden global operational deployment.

And the Martlet missile, available for all Wildcats deployed on the task group, is part of the ring of protective steel around carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08). Frigates HMS Kent (F78) and HMS Richmond (F239) also embark Wildcats along with Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond (D34).

Meanwhile, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) adds Merlin helicopters and F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter jets to the protective ring.

Radar for NASAMS

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, introduces GhostEye MR, a new medium-range radar for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS. GhostEye MR is on display at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting and exhibition, in booth #2147 of NASAMS partner Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

GhostEye MR
Raytheon Missiles & Defense unveils GhostEye MR, a new medium-range air and missile defense radar for NASAMS

The increased range and altitude coverage provided by GhostEye MR expands NASAMS capability to detect, track and identify enemy aircraft, unmanned aircraft systems, and cruise missile threats. The extended range of this new sensor also maximizes the capabilities of the family of effectors employed by NASAMS.

GhostEye MR is a variant of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) that the company is building for the U.S. Army. It is a scalable Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar providing 360-degree surveillance and advanced fire control capabilities. Raytheon’s name for the family of radars based on LTAMDS is GhostEye. GhostEye MR is a separate, but concurrent, radar development program funded by Raytheon Missiles & Defense that leverages LTAMDS technology baseline and common manufacturing processes.

«GhostEye MR makes NASAMS even more capable for our current and future customers around the globe», said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense, a Raytheon Missiles & Defense business area. «We’re leveraging the best of our technology development from the U.S. Army’s most advanced radar to give the U.S. and our allies a robust sensor that can defend against a wide range of threats».

Building on the progress of the LTAMDS program, GhostEye MR is on an accelerated path to availability. The sensor’s capabilities and performance were tested through a series of modeling and simulation-based threat scenarios. The radar will undergo open air testing in 2022, followed by customer demonstrations.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, in partnership with Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, produces and supports NASAMS. The system has been chosen by 12 countries for their air defense needs and has been integrated into the U.S. National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. In addition to the U.S., Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands, Oman, Lithuania, Indonesia, Australia, Qatar, Hungary and one undisclosed country have selected NASAMS for defense of their homeland and critical assets.

Raytheon’s GhostEye MR is the latest program in the company’s vast portfolio of sophisticated radar systems, extending a legacy of technological innovation and manufacturing expertise that spans decades. The GhostEye family of radars will enhance the capabilities of U.S. and allies to defend against short, medium, and long-range threats.