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U.S. firms tout missile defense test

By Richard Tomkins
U.S. firms tout missile defense test
Raytheon, Boeing and Orbital ATK said they were involved in the creation of the technology behind Tuesday's test of an intercept missile. Photo courtesy Missile Defense Agency

May 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense firms are touting their role in the successful launch and target destruction by an interceptor missile of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The flight test was conducted Tuesday over the Pacific. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency launched an unarmed ICBM from Kwajalein Atoll, while the exoatmospheric hit-to-kill interceptor was launched from California.

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The test is seen as a reconfirmation of U.S. missile defense capabilities and a message to North Korea, which is boasting of its development of a long-range missile capable of striking the United States.

"This test keeps the United States on track to increase its ground-based interceptor inventory to 44 in 2017," said Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems, maker of the hit-to-kill interceptor. "The system is among our industry's most complex, and its advancement ensures the protection of the U.S. and its allies."

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Raytheon said that in addition to its interceptor, the test of was supported by Raytheon's sea-based X-band radar and AN/TPY-2 radar.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said this is the first intercept test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system in three years. It was also the first live-fire test event against an ICBM-class target for the system.

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Boeing said its Ground-based Midcourse Defense system demonstrated in the test its ability to identify an incoming missile, track it and engage it with Raytheon's interceptor.

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Orbital ATK, which supplied its Orbital Boost Vehicle rocket for the FTG-15 Flight Test, said it also supplied its ICBM target rocket for the national security system test.

"This flight test was a major undertaking for Orbital ATK as we supplied both the boost vehicle for the interceptor and the target," said Rich Straka, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK's Launch Vehicles Division. "Today's successful test confirms the United States' missile defense program stands ready to protect against long-range missile attacks, and we are proud to be a part of that team."

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