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Raytheon tests motor for DARPA's MAD-FIRES self-defense interceptor

By Allen Cone

May 7 (UPI) -- Raytheon Company successfully tested a hot fire rocket motor for DARPA's Multi-Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System.

The test for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was conducted on an undisclosed date at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, Raytheon announced Monday.

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The MAD-FIRES interceptor is designed to provide self-defense capability that defeats multiple waves of anti-ship missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, small planes, fast in-shore attack craft and other platforms that "pose a perennial, evolving and potentially lethal threat to ships and other maritime vessels," according to the agency.

The system can combine the speed, rapid fire and depth of a close-range gun weapon system with the precision and accuracy of guided missiles -- including from different directions -- DARPA says.

"The Navy is asking for leading-edge capabilities that can take out rapidly approaching targets, and Raytheon's interceptor for the MAD-FIRES program will deliver," Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president, said in a company news release. "This test shows Raytheon is right on track to provide an affordable, advanced technology to the fleet."

DARPA said it envisions decreased per-engagement costs by a factor of 10 or more, improved real-time defense against evolving air and surface combat threats with extreme precision, and potential future applicability to air and ground platforms.

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In 2017, Lockheed Martin received an $8 million contract modification to support the second phase of MAD-FIRES. The modification brought the contract value to more than $18 million.

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