Category Archives: Missile Defense

$2.1 billion contract

Raytheon Company will produce and deliver Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IB interceptors under a $2.1 billion, multi-year U.S. Missile Defense Agency contract. It is the first multi-year contract for the SM-3 program, and covers fiscal years 2019-2023.

Raytheon, Missile Defense Agency sign landmark $2 billion Standard Missile-3 contract

SM-3 is the only ballistic missile interceptor that can be launched on land and at sea. It is deployed worldwide and has achieved more than 30 exoatmospheric intercepts against ballistic missile targets.

«This procurement deal is a win-win for government and industry», said Doctor Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Strategic and Naval Systems vice president. «Efficiencies gained from this contract will allow us to reduce costs, continue to improve the SM-3 and deliver an important capability to our military».

The Block IB variant achieved full-rate production in 2017. The company has delivered more than 400 SM-3 rounds over the lifetime of the program.

Standard Missile

Raytheon Company’s Missile Systems business has reached a $1 billion, five-year strategic agreement to purchase propulsion systems from Aerojet Rocketdyne for Standard Missile products. The deal represents a supply chain centerpiece of multi-year Standard Missiles contracts that Raytheon recently received.

Raytheon, Aerojet Rocketdyne strike $1 billion strategic sourcing deal for Standard Missile programs

«Moving to multi-year, rather than annual-year contracting enables Raytheon and its supply chain to deliver even more value to our Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy customers, and the taxpayer», said Eugene Jaramillo, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Global Supply Chain Management. «These multi-year agreements also allow our suppliers to transform the way they do business with Raytheon».

Aerojet Rocketdyne provides propulsion systems spanning Raytheon’s Standard Missile family. For the SM-2 missile, SM-3 interceptor and SM-6 missile, Aerojet Rocketdyne supplies the majority of the solid rocket motors for these systems. Also, for SM-3, the company produces the Divert and Attitude Control System, a high-precision, quick-reaction propulsion system that positions the interceptor to defeat incoming ballistic missiles.

«Aerojet Rocketdyne has supported one or more variants of the Standard Missile program for more than three decades; we are proud of our contributions to these vital defense products», said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. «This significant agreement on multi-year contracts strengthens our current relationship and positions Aerojet Rocketdyne favorably for future business opportunities and continued growth».

Work on the programs will be spread across Aerojet Rocketdyne sites in Orange County, Virginia, the Solid Rocket Motor Center of Excellence in Camden, Arkansas, and at its Advanced Manufacturing Facility in Huntsville, Alabama. Raytheon produces SM-2 in Tucson, and SM-3 and SM-6 in Huntsville.

Anywhere, Anytime

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite for the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on March 26 at 4:18 p.m. EDT. This marks the 83rd successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 138th launch for ULA and first mission for the U.S. Space Force.

Lockheed Martin’s sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) protected communications satellite is encapsulated in its protective fairings (Photo credit: United Launch Alliance)

The AEHF-6 satellite will bring additional capabilities and resilience to the constellation which already ensures «always-on» communications and the ability to transmit data anywhere, anytime. Once on orbit, AEHF-6 will complete the constellation, as well as mark the first launch under U.S. Space Force control. AEHF-6 will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket in an Atlas V 551 configuration.

«While this is the final AEHF satellite launch, it really brings the constellation to full strength, capability and truly marks the beginning of the AEHF system’s full lifecycle», said Mike Cacheiro, vice president for Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin. «Still, it is a bittersweet moment for everyone involved, knowing this is our last launch for the AEHF program. Myself, as well as all of the employees who have supported the program at Lockheed Martin are incredibly grateful for our continued partnership with the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missiles Systems Center».

AEHF-6 is part of the AEHF system – a resilient satellite constellation providing global coverage and a sophisticated ground control system. Together the constellation provides survivable, protected communications capabilities for national leaders and tactical warfighters operating across ground, sea and air platforms. The anti-jam system also serves international allies to include Canada, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and now Australia.

Lockheed Martin developed and manufactured AEHF-6 at its satellite production facility located in Sunnyvale, California. In January, the satellite shipped to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station courtesy of a Super Galaxy C-5 aircraft from the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the AEHF system, and the AEHF team is led by the Production Corps, Medium Earth Orbit Division, at the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

Glide Body

The Department of Defense successfully tested a hypersonic glide body in a flight experiment conducted from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, March 19 at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time (HST).

A Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time, March 19, 2020, during a Department of Defense flight experiment. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Army jointly executed the launch of the C-HGB, which flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point. Concurrently, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) monitored and gathered tracking data from the flight experiment that will inform its ongoing development of systems designed to defend against adversary hypersonic weapons. Information gathered from this and future experiments will further inform DOD’s hypersonic technology development. The department is working in collaboration with industry and academia to field hypersonic warfighting capabilities in the early- to mid-2020s (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The U.S. Navy and U.S. Army jointly executed the launch of a Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB), which flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point.

Concurrently, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) monitored and gathered tracking data from the flight experiment that will inform its ongoing development of systems designed to defend against adversary hypersonic weapons.

Information gathered from this and future experiments will further inform DOD’s hypersonic technology development, and this event is a major milestone towards the department’s goal of fielding hypersonic warfighting capabilities in the early- to mid-2020s.

«This test builds on the success we had with Flight Experiment 1 in October 2017, in which our C-HGB achieved sustained hypersonic glide at our target distances», said Vice Admiral Johnny R. Wolfe, Director, Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, which is the lead designer for the C-HGB. «In this test we put additional stresses on the system and it was able to handle them all, due to the phenomenal expertise of our top notch team of individuals from across government, industry and academia. Today we validated our design and are now ready to move to the next phase towards fielding a hypersonic strike capability».

Hypersonic weapons, capable of flying at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), are highly maneuverable and operate at varying altitudes. This provides the warfighter with an ability to strike targets hundreds and even thousands of miles away, in a matter of minutes, to defeat a wide range of high-value targets. Delivering hypersonic weapons is one of the department’s highest technical research and engineering priorities.

«This test was a critical step in rapidly delivering operational hypersonic capabilities to our warfighters in support of the National Defense Strategy», said U.S. Army LTG L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, whose office is leading the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon program and joint C-HGB production. «We successfully executed a mission consistent with how we can apply this capability in the future. The joint team did a tremendous job in executing this test, and we will continue to move aggressively to get prototypes to the field».

The C-HGB – when fully fielded – will comprise the weapon’s conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield. The Navy and Army are working closely with industry to develop the C-HGB with Navy as the lead designer, and Army as the lead for production. Each service will use the C-HGB, while developing individual weapon systems and launchers tailored for launch from sea or land.

The similarities in hypersonic weapon design for sea and land variants provide economies of scale for future production as we build the U.S. hypersonics industrial base.

«Hypersonic systems deliver transformational warfighting capability», said Mr. Mike White, Assistant Director, Hypersonics, OUSD Research and Engineering (Modernization). «The glide body tested today is now ready for transition to Army and Navy weapon system development efforts and is one of several applications of hypersonic technology underway across the Department. These capabilities help ensure that our warfighters will maintain the battlefield dominance necessary to deter, and if necessary, defeat any future adversary».

Additionally, MDA is working closely with Army and Navy in sharing data that will inform their development of enhanced capabilities for a layered hypersonic defense to support warfighter need and outpace the adversary threat.

Department of Defense Tests Hypersonic Glide Body

Seeker technology

BAE Systems has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin to design and manufacture next-generation infrared seekers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system, providing critical targeting technology that helps protect the U.S. and its allies from ballistic missiles. The sensor design work will improve the missile defense system’s ability to neutralize more threats and improve its manufacturability.

Next-generation seeker technology will help protect the U.S. and its allies from ballistic missiles

«The THAAD seeker is a key product in our precision munitions portfolio that’s recognized for its proven intercept capabilities. It demonstrates our ability to deliver advanced targeting and guidance systems for critical precision munitions», said Barry Yeadon, THAAD program director at BAE Systems. «This award is a testament to our ongoing success with the program, and enables us to advance our proven design and take the program into the future in support of the Missile Defense Agency’s mission».

The THAAD weapon system intercepts hostile ballistic missiles with kinetic force during their final, or terminal, phase of flight. BAE Systems’ seeker provides infrared imagery that guides interceptors to their intended targets, destroying enemy warheads inside or outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The company has been developing and producing missile defense seeker technology for more than four decades, and has delivered more than 500 THAAD seekers to date.

THAAD is an integral part of the MDA’s mission to field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system. Its high-altitude intercept capability mitigates the effects of enemy weapons before they reach the ground, and its non-explosive kinetic impact minimizes the risk of detonation. THAAD is a highly effective system for addressing ballistic missile threats.

BAE Systems’ THAAD seekers are assembled, integrated, and tested at the company’s facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire and Endicott, New York. Portions of the design work for the next-generation seeker technology will be conducted in Huntsville, Alabama, where the company is actively hiring and building a state-of-the-art facility. The THAAD seeker program provides an opportunity for engineers to join a cutting-edge design program at its early stages in the Rocket City.

Long Range Radar

The Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) program has completed delivery of the first ten antenna panels to Clear, Alaska, that will make up the first of the system’s two radar antenna arrays. Lockheed Martin continues to successfully achieve all program milestones as it works towards delivering the radar to MDA in 2020. The system will serve as a critical sensor within MDA’s layered defense strategy to protect the U.S. homeland from ballistic missile attacks.

Trucks transporting radar panels to Clear Air Force Station prepare to leave Lockheed Martin’s Moorestown, New Jersey, facility (Photo Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

The two radar antenna arrays will be comprised of a total of 20 panels, each about 27 feet/8.23 meters tall, measuring approximately four stories high and wide. Temporary structures have been assembled in front of the radar facility to ensure the panels are installed on schedule, regardless of weather conditions. The installation and integration of the radar system began last year and will be followed by the transition to the testing period.

Over 66% of program technical requirements have already been verified at Lockheed Martin’s Solid State Radar Integration Site (SSRIS). «We are confident in our product because of the extensive testing that we have been able to perform in the SSRIS over the past few years with production hardware and tactical software. We have successfully reduced a large amount of risk to ensure fielding of this critical capability on schedule in 2020», says Chandra Marshall, director of Lockheed Martin’s Missile Defense and Space Surveillance Radar programs.

In 2018, LRDR achieved Technical Readiness Level 7 using a scalable and modular gallium nitride based «subarray» radar building block, providing advanced performance and increased efficiency and reliability to pace ever-evolving threats. Scaled versions of the LRDR technology will be utilized for future radar programs including Aegis Ashore Japan, recently designated AN/SPY-7(V)1, Canadian Surface Combatant, and Spain’s F-110 Frigate program.

LRDR combines proven Solid State Radar (SSR) technologies with proven ballistic missile defense algorithms, all based upon an open architecture platform capable of meeting future growth. The system will provide around-the-clock threat acquisition, tracking and discrimination data to enable defense systems to lock on and engage ballistic missile threats.

Construction of the structure that will house the Long Range Discrimination Radar is almost complete at Clear Air Force Station in Clear, Alaska (Photo Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

Next-generation radar

Raytheon Company finished building the first radar antenna array for the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS). Raytheon completed the work less than 120 days after the U.S. Army selected Raytheon to build LTAMDS, a next-generation radar that will defeat advanced threats like hypersonic weapons.

Raytheon’s LTAMDS design is a simultaneous 360-degree, Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar powered by the company’s Gallium Nitride (GaN) circuits, which strengthen the radar signal and enhance its sensitivity

«Raytheon’s employees and partners are focused on delivering the first LTAMDS by the Army’s Urgent Material Release date because we know how important expanded battlespace coverage and other capabilities are to the men and women in uniform», said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. «Because we invested in cutting-edge radar technology and advanced manufacturing capability, we will meet the customer’s critical milestones and get LTAMDS in the field rapidly».

The newly built primary array, similar in size to the Patriot radar array, will provide more than twice its performance.  Following extensive testing, the radar array will be mounted on a precision-machined enclosure for integration and further evaluation. The enclosure utilizes advanced design and manufacturing techniques for accelerated manufacture to support the U.S. Army’s Urgent Materiel Release program.

Raytheon is working closely with hundreds of suppliers across 42 states, including a core team playing a strategic role in building the LTAMDS solution. They are:

  • Crane Aerospace & Electronics;
  • Cummings Aerospace;
  • IERUS Technologies;
  • Kord Technologies;
  • Mercury Systems;
  • nLogic.

Missile defence

November 12, 2019, the Council of the European Union gave the green light to the TWISTER (Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance) capability project for implementation within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) framework. This international missile defence project which already includes five European countries, seeks to develop with support from the European Defence Fund a European multi-role interceptor to address emerging threats and be brought into service by 2030.

MBDA ready to meet the challenge of Europe’s missile defence

In addressing this capability gap, the interceptor component of the TWISTER project will ultimately become a key element in the contribution made by European countries to NATO’s territorial, population and armed forces defence mission while meeting the European Union’s level of ambition in the field of missile defence. By rationalising and pooling capabilities, the PESCO Member States will benefit from an operational capability in a class of its own and guarantee their strategic autonomy and freedom of action.

This new endo-atmospheric interceptor will address a wide range of threats including, manoeuvring ballistic missiles with intermediate ranges, hypersonic or high-supersonic cruise missiles, hypersonic gliders, and more conventional targets such as next-generation fighter aircraft. This Interceptor will integrate existing and future land and naval systems.

MBDA is committed to meeting this need through next generation technologies and architectures building on national and company funded studies which have been conducted over the past five years. MBDA will also draw on its experience of industrial cooperation at European level, its long heritage of leading complex air defence programmes and its solid industrial relationships across the wider European landscape to establish a skills and capability led team.

«MBDA enthusiastically welcomes the Council’s decision», says MBDA CEO Éric Béranger, «and will commit all its energy and extensive missile defence experience in future collaborative and cross-border R&T and R&D activities. This next generation interceptor project provides a unique opportunity for Europeans to converge their efforts in the field of missile defence and to secure sovereignty in an area vital to their strategic autonomy. These high-end interceptors are technologically demanding and their development will represent a qualitative leap forward for Europe’s entire missile sector. Our industrial model as a European champion gives us the critical mass necessary to deliver this challenging project through cooperation with our European industrial partners».

The TWISTER project is the second missile systems project to be supported under the new European defence agenda following the Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) capability programme which became part of PESCO in November 2018 and for which MBDA has put forward its 5th generation ground combat system., the only solution under European design authority that gives front-line combat units the ability to fire beyond the direct line of sight while maintaining man-in-the-loop decision-making.

Lithuanian NASAMS

In the end of September specialists of the Lithuanian Air Force began tests of the NASAMS medium-range air defence system made for the Lithuanian Air Force at the Kongsberg factory in Norway. Components of the weaponry system produced specifically for the Lithuanian Air Force will be first tested at the factor and then put to field trials when the air defence systems are brought to Lithuania.

Lithuania has begun testing two batteries of NASAMS medium-range air-defense missiles it ordered for 110 million euros in 2017; Lithuania’s system uses second-hand launchers from the Norwegian army and new AMRAAM missiles from the US (LT MoD photo)

The trials will assess technical and tactical conformity of NASAMS components to the determined weaponry specification. The tests will run until February 2020 and test all the NASAMS components – missile launchers, radars, electro-optical sensors, components of integration with the RBS70 short-range air defence systems, communication, and control components, and vehicles.

The NASAMS medium-range air defence system is planned to be delivered to Lithuania by the end of 2020.

Once the systems are delivered, specialist operator training will begin at the Lithuanian Air Force Air Defence Battalion.

The contract for procuring the NSAMS mid-range air defence system for the Lithuanian Air Force was signed by the Ministry of National Defence and Norway’s Kongsberg NASAMS manufacturer on 26 October 2017.

For the sum of EUR 110 million, equipment for two air defence batteries and logistical maintenance package, as well as training for operators and maintenance personnel of the system are bought from Norwegian NASAMS manufacturer Kongsberg.

Upon the completion of the project, Lithuania will have acquired a complete and integrated medium range air defence capability.

«Protected airspace is one of the main conditions necessary for deployment of allies into the region in case of necessity», Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says. «NASAMS is an assembled and integrated medium-range air defence capability we needed and did not have till present. This procurement partly fills one of the biggest gaps in national defence – airspace protection».

The system procured by Lithuania is new, except for the launchers that are pre-used by the Norwegian Armed Forces and currently upgraded to manufacturer’s parameters. The systems procured from Norway use U.S.-made AMRAAM aircraft defence missiles capable of destroying aircraft and missiles of an adversary several tens of kilometres away. All the equipment is planned to be fully delivered to Lithuania, personnel trained, and all the components integrated into a system capable of completing air defence tasks: monitor and control air space, issue warning to ground-based units about air threats, and to destroy targets if necessary.

The MoD Work Group analysed mid-range air defence systems available on the market to implement the NASAMS procurement project. Potential procurements were assessed according to such criteria as efficiency, compatibility with systems of NATO allies, maintenance and repair cost, times of delivery, etc. NASAMS was selected as the closest choice to the requirement and criteria formulated.

Lithuanian Air Force experts begin testing NASAMS medium-range air defence system

Intercept Test

Lockheed Martin’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully intercepted a Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) target on August 30, 2019 in a missile defense test led by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) with critical support provided by the U.S. Army.

Lockheed Martin’s THAAD System made history by using remote launch capability to successfully detect, track and intercept a threat representative target (Photo by Missile Defense Agency)

During the test, designated Flight Test THAAD (FTT-23), the THAAD system located at U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands successfully detected, tracked and intercepted a threat representative target using a THAAD launcher that was positioned at distance from the other THAAD end items.

The THAAD radar detected, acquired and tracked the target. The THAAD system then developed a fire control solution and launched an interceptor from a remotely-located THAAD launcher that destroyed the target’s reentry vehicle.

This was the 16th successful intercept in 16 attempts for the THAAD system since 2005.

The THAAD system now has the capability to physically untether a THAAD launcher from the battle manager and launch interceptors remotely, greatly enhancing launcher emplacement options and increasing the defended area.

«The enhanced THAAD system performed flawlessly in today’s test, and we are proud to support the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army as they continue to demonstrate the system’s unmatched capabilities», said Richard McDaniel, vice president of Upper Tier Integrated Air and Missile Defense Systems at Lockheed Martin. «This successful test paves the way for delivery of an urgent need capability that will enhance THAAD’s emplacement options resulting in greater asset protection».

THAAD is highly effective at defending against a host of ballistic missile threats to include mass raid scenarios. The system uses hit-to-kill technology to destroy a threat with direct impact neutralizing lethal payloads before they reach protected assets on the ground. The system is rapidly deployable, mobile and interoperable with all other Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) elements, including Patriot/PAC-3, Aegis, forward-based sensors and the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications system.