HUNTSVILLE, Ala., May 13 (UPI) -- A prototype air-launched ballistic missile target has been successfully tested by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed and MDA said that in the test in Arizona, the Extended Medium-range Ballistic Missile target was released from the cargo bay of a U.S. Air Force C-17 at 25,000 feet. System parachutes deployed, and the prototype successfully separated from the carriage extraction system.
"The eMRBM air-launch equipment and carriage extraction system performed nominally in this test, verifying system performance and preparing the launch team for future mission operations," said Patricia Dare, Lockheed Martin's Targets and Countermeasures Program director.
The prototype tested was a replica of the missile target, without propulsion, that is being used to test and validate the air-launch equipment and carriage extraction system in preparation for the maiden flight of the eMRBM missile target this year.
Lockheed, under a Targets and Countermeasures Prime Contract, is developing 17 missile targets of various types and ranges -- including five eMRBM targets – to enable warfighters to gain experience with system performance in realistic scenarios.
"This new target is designed to provide the threat realism that is essential to ensuring that missile defense systems are developed against accurate representations of the systems they would likely encounter in an operational environment," said John Holly, vice president of Missile Defense Systems and deputy for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.