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Excalibur tests mark milestone

SOCORRO, N.M., Feb. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. company Raytheon announced a milestone achievement in the development of its next-generation Excalibur missile technology.

Raytheon says its Excalibur 1b program has successfully fired 45 times from the next-generation precision-guided missile's titanium base. The flight demonstrated the Excalibur 1b projectiles were stable during flight.

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The 45th firing marks a milestone for the development of the Excalibur 1b as part of its design testing.

Officials say the Excalibur 1b is part of an effort to redesign the company's Excalibur 1a missile technology, lowering the cost of production by using fewer parts while still maintaining reliability.

"During these test flights, we've integrated base bleed into the fin extension," Steve Bennett, Raytheon Missile Systems Excalibur program director, said in a statement.

"That's an important step on the road to delivering Excalibur 1b to the U.S. Army. We feel confident Excalibur 1b will meet the U.S. Army's cost objectives and exceed the incredible performance expectations established by Excalibur 1a."

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