Orbital Successfully Launches Medium Range Target for Missile Defense Test

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that it successfully launched a medium-range target (MRT) vehicle under a direct contract with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The MRT vehicle served as an intercept target for the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System and was launched yesterday from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii. MRT flew a trajectory northwest of Kauai and was intercepted by the Navy’s Standard Missile (SM-3, Block 1B) interceptor system before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. The MRT was the eighth medium-range target Orbital has launched in support of the Aegis BMD test program and the eleventh MRT launch overall.

“We are very pleased to support the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the U.S. Navy Aegis BMD program with another successful target launch, including a positive hit indication from the Orbital-developed target object.” said Mr. Ron Wiley, Senior Vice President of Suborbital Targets Programs. “The MRT target has been a highly-reliable, cost-effective workhorse for many years, maintaining a perfect record for being on time and in the box.”

Orbital originally developed the MRT multiple-launch-mode target vehicle over a two-year period under contract to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC), according to specifications that require launch capability from ground, air, or sea. The first flight in April 2005 demonstrated the air launch mission concept executed via parachute extraction and descent from an Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft, which is necessary to support U.S. Army Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) tests. MRT has now successfully supported eight ground launch missions for Aegis BMD and two operational air-launched missions for THAAD.

Orbital is one of the country’s most experienced developers and operators of missile defense-related launch vehicles. The company supports virtually all of the country’s major missile defense programs with cost-effective and highly-reliable target vehicles. In addition to the Aegis BMD, Orbital’s target vehicles are used to test MDA’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD), the U.S. Army’s Patriot PAC-3 and THAAD system. Orbital also produces the “Coyote” ramjet-powered sea-skimming supersonic target vehicle for the U.S. Navy’s ship self-defense systems.

Source: Orbital Sciences Corp.
Date: Jun 28, 2012