Category Archives: Rocket

Defense Laser

The Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a nine-month, $25.5 million contract extension to continue development of its Low Power Laser Demonstrator (LPLD) missile interceptor concept. This program, awarded August 31, builds on a 2017 contract to develop an initial LPLD concept.

Lockheed Martin’s Missile Defense Laser Concept Continues Toward Development
Lockheed Martin’s Missile Defense Laser Concept Continues Toward Development

Lockheed Martin’s LPLD concept consists of a fiber laser system on a high-performing, high-altitude airborne platform. LPLD is designed to engage missiles during their boost phase – the short window after launch – which is the ideal time to destroy the threat, before it can deploy multiple warheads and decoys.

Over the course of this contract, Lockheed Martin will mature its LPLD concept to a tailored critical design review phase, which will bring the design to a level that can support full-scale fabrication.

«We have made great progress on our LPLD design, and in this stage, we are particularly focused on maturing our technology for beam control – the ability to keep the laser beam stable and focused at operationally relevant ranges», said Sarah Reeves, vice president for Missile Defense Programs at Lockheed Martin Space. «LPLD is one of many breakthrough capabilities the Missile Defense Agency is pursuing to stay ahead of rapidly-evolving threats, and we’re committed to bringing together Lockheed Martin’s full expertise in directed energy for this important program».

Lockheed Martin expands on advanced technology through its laser device, beam control capabilities, and platform integration – ranging from internal research and development investments in systems like the Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) to programs such as the Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments (LANCE) for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Continued LPLD development will take place at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California campus through July 2019.

As a proven world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, Lockheed Martin delivers high-quality missile defense solutions that protect citizens, critical assets and deployed forces from current and future threats. The company’s experience spans directed energy systems development, missile design and production, hit-to-kill capabilities, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, radar and signal processing, as well as threat-representative targets for missile defense tests.

Full Rate Production

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $171 million contract for Lot 7 Full Rate Production (FRP) of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM). The contract will deliver advanced capability to U.S. warfighters as well as the Italian Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force to counter the accelerating proliferation of surface-to-air threats.

Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile impacting a target
Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile impacting a target

«The rapid proliferation of today’s threats require the most advanced solution to detect and defeat surface-to-air-threats and protect our nation and allies», said Cary Ralston, vice president and general manager, defense electronic systems, Northrop Grumman. «AARGM is an affordable, game-changing solution and we are proud to provide this capability to the warfighter».

AARGM is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system, upgrading legacy AGM-88 HARM systems with capability to perform destruction of enemy air defense missions. AARGM is the most advanced system for pilots, with in-cockpit, real-time electronic order of battle situational awareness against today’s modern surface-to-air threats. It is able to rapidly engage traditional and non-traditional advanced land- and sea-based air-defense threats, as well as striking, time-sensitive targets.

AARGM is a U.S. Navy and Italian Air Force international cooperative major acquisition program with the U.S. Navy as the executive agent. AARGM is currently deployed and supporting operational requirements for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The missile is integrated into the weapons systems on the FA-18C/D Hornet, FA-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. The Italian Air Force (ItAF) recently completed operational testing of AARGM on their Tornado Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft. A series of flight tests culminated with direct hits on critical air defense threat targets, confirming the operational effectiveness and suitability of AARGM on the Italian Air Force Tornado and allowing the Italian Air Force to transition AARGM into operational squadrons.

Flight Test

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) completed a successful intercept flight test in cooperation with the U.S. Navy off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii. A Raytheon Company Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IB missile intercepted a ballistic missile target, marking the first time Japan has tested the sophisticated interceptor as announced by MDA.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Atago launched an SM-3 Block IB air-defense missile for the first time during the latest Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) flight test on September 12 (MDA photo)
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Atago launched an SM-3 Block IB air-defense missile for the first time during the latest Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) flight test on September 12 (MDA photo)

The target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, and the interceptor was launched from the Japanese ship JS Atago (DDG-177), verifying the newest ballistic missile defense engagement capability of the upgraded destroyer. The flight test mission is a significant milestone in missile defense cooperation between Japan and the U.S. Japan currently employs the SM-3 Block IA interceptor, but the IB variant’s improved two-color seeker and upgraded throttling divert and attitude control system enables engagements with a larger set of threats.

«The Standard Missile-3 family consistently demonstrates capability against sophisticated threats, both on land and at sea», said Doctor Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. «This test underlines the importance of allied ballistic missile defense interoperability and the powerful results we generate when we work together with our allies».

The SM-3 is produced at Raytheon’s Space Factory in Tucson, Arizona, and the company’s integration facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

Upgrade RBS 70

The Ministry of National and the Lithuanian Armed Forces enhances the present air defence capabilities and functionality of the weaponry in their possession by procuring improved missiles and BORC night-capability sights on the basis of a contract signed with Swedish manufacturer Saab. The new procurement will upgrade the RBS 70 short-range air defence capability the Lithuanian Armed Forces currently has.

Lithuanian Armed Forces upgrade RBS 70 short-range air defence system, procure new missiles
Lithuanian Armed Forces upgrade RBS 70 short-range air defence system, procure new missiles

«Enhancement of air defences is one of the key priorities of our defence, therefore we are continuing upgrading our short-range air defence system: the RBS 70 will be improved with night-capability sights and new missiles will be acquired», Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says.

Lithuania is buying from the Swedish manufacturer RBS 70s of a newer generation greater range, higher altitude coverage and an enhanced effect against armoured targets. With improved missiles the RBS 70 system will be even more effective and dangerous to hostile aircraft, and the advanced BORC night sights will allow soldiers to stay operational during the dark part of the day.

Approximate value of both contracts is EUR 9.7 million (without VAT), the procurement contracts were signed in July.

The improved missiles and night vision equipment will be delivered to the Lithuanian Air Forces starting with 2019.

The Swedish-manufactured RBS 70 missile system is a short-range air defence capability based on control beam, i.e. laser equipment guides the missile. The greatest advantage of RBS 70 is that there has not been electromagnetic equipment so far created in the world capable of producing jamming that could disrupt RBS 70. The RBS 70 in possession of the Air Defence Battalion of the Lithuanian Armed Forces comprises RBS 70 missile systems with Giraffe Mk-IV surveillance radars.

Also, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence is strengthening Lithuania’s mid-range air defence capabilities: in October 2017 NASAMS mid-range air defence systems was bought for EUR 110 million from Norwegian enterprise Kongsberg and is expected to be delivered by 2021.

Airspace protection is one of the keys guarantees the allies are able to enter the region if a necessity arises. Upgrading of the possessed air defence capabilities and procurement of new ones is Lithuania’s steps to at least partly fill one of the most important gaps in its defence – airspace protection.

Swedish Patriot

The government of Sweden signed an agreement to purchase Raytheon’s Patriot air and missile defense system from the U.S. Army. The agreement, formally referred to as a Letter of Offer and Acceptance, paves the way for Sweden’s Patriot force to rapidly reach Initial Operational Capability.

The Patriot AESA Gallium Nitride (GaN) radar peers skyward at a test range in Pelham, New Hampshire
The Patriot AESA Gallium Nitride (GaN) radar peers skyward at a test range in Pelham, New Hampshire

«Sweden and 15 other countries trust our Patriot system to defend its citizens, military and sovereignty because Patriot has a proven track record of defeating ballistic missiles and a host of other aerial threats», said Wes Kremer, President of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. «Patriot in Sweden will enhance Northern European security and further strengthen the Trans-Atlantic partnership by providing a common approach to Integrated Air and Missile Defense».

Patriot is the backbone of Europe’s defense against ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced aircraft and drones.

European Nations with Patriot: Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, and Spain currently have Patriot. Within the past 12 months Romania and Poland signed Letters of Acceptance for Patriot, becoming the 5th and 6th European nations to procure Raytheon’s Patriot system.

The 16 Patriot Nations are:

  • United States of America;
  • The Netherlands;
  • Germany;
  • Japan;
  • Israel;
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;
  • Kuwait;
  • Taiwan;
  • Greece;
  • Spain;
  • Republic of Korea;
  • United Arab Emirates;
  • Qatar;
  • Romania;
  • Poland;
  • Sweden.

Initial Production

Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) system has successfully passed its Defense Acquisition Board review and achieved milestone C. The signed Acquisition Decision Memorandum approves the JAGM system to enter into Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP).

Lockheed Martin's Joint Air-to-Ground Missile Achieves Milestone C Decision, Enabling Low-Rate Initial Production
Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Ground Missile Achieves Milestone C Decision, Enabling Low-Rate Initial Production

JAGM is a multi-sensor air-to-ground missile that is the successor to the combat proven HELLFIRE Romeo and HELLFIRE Longbow missiles. Backward compatible with all rotary wing and fixed wing platforms that fire the HELLFIRE family of missiles, JAGM employs a multi-mode guidance section that offers enhanced performance on the battlefield. The multimode seeker combines improved Semi-Active Laser and millimeter wave radar sensors providing precision strike and fire-and-forget capability against stationary and moving land and maritime targets in adverse weather and obscured battlefield conditions.

JAGM flight tests, including ten Limited User Test flights, were completed across the performance envelope and target requirements over a period of months leading up to the successful milestone C decision. The test results demonstrated the system’s combat effectiveness and technical maturity. Additionally, the program successfully conducted supplier and prime contractor production readiness reviews establishing the program’s readiness to move into LRIP.

The U.S. Army and U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a 24-month contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the JAGM program which included JAGM production, test qualification and integration on the AH-64E Apache and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters. The EMD phase also established an initial low-rate manufacturing capability in support of three follow-on LRIP options, with U.S. Army Initial Operational Capability expected early 2019.

The JAGM system hardware that demonstrated over 95 percent reliability in flight testing is built on the active HELLFIRE missile family production line by the same team that has produced over 75,000 missiles with a fielded reliability exceeding 97 percent.

CAMM interceptor

MBDA’s Land Ceptor air defence system has successfully destroyed its target during an end-to-end system demonstration firing at the Vidsel Test Range in Sweden, an important milestone for the project prior to entry to service with the British Army.

Land Ceptor on target in latest success for MBDA’s CAMM interceptor
Land Ceptor on target in latest success for MBDA’s CAMM interceptor

Land Ceptor utilises the proven Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) currently in production and delivering a common stockpile to meet the air defence needs of both the British Army and the Royal Navy (as Sea Ceptor). In British Army service Land Ceptor will replace the current Rapier air defence system and provides a step-change in capability, including over triple the range and the ability to intercept a much more challenging target set.

The system demonstration trial showcased the maturity of the Land Ceptor system across a full engagement sequence. This included launcher deployment; munition loading; receipt of air tracks from a Giraffe-AMB radar; air track processing by Land Ceptor’s onboard Command and Control (C2) system; and execution of a full engagement chain, with two-way data exchange with the missile during its mid-course fly-out phase, and successful interception and destruction of a target using the missile’s seeker in the terminal phase.

Land Ceptor with CAMM is the latest generation of air defence system, providing exceptional capability from very short ranges (VSHORAD) below 1 km/3,281 feet into the Medium Range Air Defence (MRAD) tier beyond 25 km/15.5 miles. Key features of CAMM are its next generation solid-state active radar seeker, two-way data-link, low-signature rocket motor and its 360° soft-vertical launch system. These combine to enable the missile to rapidly intercept the most challenging and dangerous of threats including saturation attacks from precision guided munitions and manoeuvring high-speed missiles emerging late from low altitude and from multiple directions simultaneously.

The demonstration in Vidsel coincides with the transition into production of the Land Ceptor weapon system, which will now undergo system-of-system integration and test as part of the British Army’s Sky Sabre air defence architecture. It is the latest in a series of highly successful trials of CAMM and its related systems over several years that have consistently proven its maturity and game changing performance.

 

About CAMM family of missile systems

The Royal Navy has recently conducted a large set of service acceptance trials of its related Sea Ceptor system. Sea Ceptor, which uses the same CAMM interceptor, has been introduced into service to replace the Vertical Launch Seawolf system on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. The Sea Ceptor system provides a major step-change in capability for the Royal Navy’s frigates, as they will

gain the ability to protect other ships within their local area, in addition to having an excellent self-defense capability. Sea Ceptor will also be fitted to the Royal Navy’s future Type 26 and Type 31e frigates.

Land Ceptor is the UK launch configuration of the Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions (EMADS) product family. EMADS brings together best-of-breed systems and technologies from across MBDA’s European base to save time, development costs and provide a flexible system for air defence provision. EMADS has been designed for ease of integration with existing equipment and infrastructure through modular design and use of standard interfaces. CAMM is a family of missiles that includes CAMM-ER (Extended Range) which shares all the same components as CAMM other than a larger rocket motor to extend its range out to beyond 40 km/25 miles.

Rocket Production

Lockheed Martin received an $828 million not-to-exceed contract from the U.S. Army for Lot 13 production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets and associated equipment.

Lockheed Martin received a $828 million not-to-exceed contract from the U.S. Army for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets and associated equipment
Lockheed Martin received a $828 million not-to-exceed contract from the U.S. Army for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets and associated equipment

The contract calls for the production of GMLRS Alternative Warhead (AW) rockets, GMLRS Unitary rockets, Reduced-Range Practice Rockets (RRPRs) and integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army as well as GMLRS rounds for a number of international customers. Work will be performed at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Dallas and at the company’s Precision Fires Center of Excellence in Camden, Ark.

«The GMLRS round continues to perform exceptionally well for our customers», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin. «And we are always executing continuous improvement initiatives to enhance performance, range and affordability of these critical rounds to assure they remain the preferred precision-strike option for our warfighters».

GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The GMLRS AW was the first munition developed to service area targets without the effects of unexploded ordinance, complying with the Department of Defense (DoD) cluster munitions policy. GMLRS Unitary rockets greatly exceed the required combat reliability rate and have established a reputation for affordability. The RRPR allows users to train with realistic, full-motored rockets with limited flight range, making them ideal for smaller testing ranges.

In combat operations, each GMLRS rocket is packaged in a MLRS launch pod and is fired from the Lockheed Martin High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) or M270 family of launchers. For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

3-cell ExLS Launcher

MBDA and Lockheed Martin have jointly completed qualification of MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) from Lockheed Martin’s Extensible Launching System (ExLS) 3-Cell Stand Alone Launcher following a series of trials.

When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell
When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell

ExLS is a low-cost alternative for integrating new missiles and munitions into naval surface combatants leveraging Lockheed Martin’s proven Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) design and electronics.

The compact vertical launch 3-cell ExLS system is specifically designed for smaller naval platforms that are unable to accommodate the larger 8-cell MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). ExLS has also been designed to fit inside the MK 41 launcher (i.e. ExLS Host), offering flexible, adaptable installation solutions for larger ships to achieve high combat mass within a small on-board footprint.

MBDA’s CAMM is a highly compact missile that enables multiple weapons to be fitted in limited spaces. It is the most modern air defence missile of its class on the market and has recently completed a highly successful series of firings by the Royal Navy. When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell. These latest trials from 3-cell ExLS were successfully completed in the United Kingdom at the end of 2017.

«The success of these trials is testament to the hard work and close co-operation of the MBDA and Lockheed Martin», said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president of small combatants and ship systems. «A launcher within a launcher, ExLS uses CAMM canistered munitions with its qualified launch electronics to cut integration costs by more than 50 percent. It is a mature design that when paired with CAMM offers a low-cost alternative for integrating new missiles and munitions into current and future surface combatants».

Paul Mead, Head of Business Development at MBDA, said: «These trials have further demonstrated the maturity, reliability and safety of the CAMM vertical launch system from both 3-cell ExLS and ExLS Host/MK 41 and follows the highly successful operational trials of CAMM by the Royal Navy in 2017. The pairing of CAMM with the 3-cell ExLS launcher is a natural choice, providing a flexible launcher solution available now for naval platforms to take advantage of the high-performance air defence capabilities and compact size of CAMM with ExLS. Other MBDA weapon systems, compatible with ExLS, are planned for the future».

Production-configuration

Lockheed Martin successfully tested a production-configuration Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber.

Lockheed Martin successfully tested a production-configuration Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber. LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range
Lockheed Martin successfully tested a production-configuration Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber. LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range

During the test, a B-1B Lancer from the 337th Test Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, launched a LRASM over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, California, successfully impacting the maritime target and meeting test objectives.

«LRASM has now proven itself in six consecutive flight missions», said David Helsel, LRASM program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «The reliability and outstanding capability of LRASM will provide an unmatched weapon to our warfighters in their quest for sea control in contested environments».

LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships by employing advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments. LRASM will play a significant role in ensuring military access to operate in open ocean/blue waters, owing to its enhanced ability to discriminate and conduct tactical engagements from extended ranges.

LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER). It is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in contested environments. The air-launched variant provides an early operational capability for the U.S. Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement to be integrated onboard the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B Lancer in 2018 and on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 2019.