YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- A low quadrant 107mm rocket was destroyed in flight by Raytheon's AI3 interceptor missile in a major test milestone, the company said.
"After launch, the AI3 interceptor initially guided on in-flight radio frequency data link updates from the Ku RF Sensor radar, which was tracking an inbound rocket target threat," Raytheon said in a release.
"The interceptor then transitioned to terminal guidance using the interceptor's onboard seeker and the illumination from the radar to guide the missile to within lethal range.
"The target was then detected using an active RF proximity fuse that determined the optimal detonation time for the warhead ... calculated the appropriate warhead burst time and defeated the incoming threat."
The Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program is a U.S. Army program to provide troops with the capability to destroy incoming rockets. The solution developed includes a Raytheon Ku Radio Frequency System Fire Control Radar, an Avenger-based AI3 launcher, a C-RAM command and control, Technical Fire Control and the Raytheon AI3 interceptor missile.
The Army in September is to conduct for-the-record testing of AI3 and continue to engage and destroy baseline and enhanced capability targets such as 107mm and other rockets, unmanned air systems and other threats to forward operating bases.
"Beginning only 18 months and one week ago, and with firm cost requirements, the AI3 interceptor project successfully engaged and destroyed an in-flight rocket on a challenging, high-speed flight profile greatly enhancing the range of existing capabilities," Michael Van Rassen, the U.S. Army's Project Director for Counter Rockets, Artillery and Mortars and AI3, said Monday. "The project used a system of systems approach that lowered risk and enabled an accelerated schedule by leveraging existing government components and off-the-shelf subsystems to expand the footprint of the protected area for our warfighters."