Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) announced today that it successfully launched a Patriot Target Vehicle (PTV) under contract with the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Space Development Launch Operations (SDLO). The PTV served as an intercept target for the U.S. Army Lower Tier Project Office (LTPO) Patriot missile defense system. The PTV was launched this morning from Fort Wingate into White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico. It flew a southerly trajectory over WSMR and was intercepted by a Patriot PAC-3 missile interceptor system during reentry.
The Patriot Target Vehicle, known as Juno, is the third Orbital-provided target launched under contract with the U.S. Air Force. The Juno target was designed, built, tested and launched to support the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of the PAC-3 missile to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under an LTPO contract. The UAE is a key U.S. partner in the upgrade of the PAC-3 missile system.
“We are very pleased to support the U.S Air Force/SMC and U.S. Army/Lower Tier Project Office with a third successful target launch, culminating in a successful intercept,” said Mr. Ron Wiley, Senior Vice President of Suborbital Launch Systems at Orbital. “We look forward to supporting future tests for the Space and Missile Systems Center with the Juno target, which has successfully demonstrated its capabilities as a robust, well-characterized target system for SDLO missions and Patriot engagements.”
Orbital developed the PTV target vehicle over a two-and-a-half-year period under contract to Space Development Launch Operations according to specifications that required the vehicle to have selectable reentry dynamic performance. The Juno PTV rocket relies heavily on flight-proven designs from other Orbital launch vehicles, such as the Medium Range Target, Storm Short-Range Target and Pegasus space launch vehicle.
Orbital is one of America’s most experienced developers and operators of missile defense-related launch vehicles, with over 65 target launches successfully conducted during the past 10 years. The company supports virtually all of the country’s major missile defense programs with highly-reliable and cost-effective target vehicles. In addition to the Patriot program, Orbital’s target vehicles are used to test MDA’s Aegis BMD and Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD), as well as the U.S. Army’s Patriot PAC-3 and THAAD systems. Orbital also produces the Coyote ramjet-powered supersonic sea-skimming target vehicle used to test U.S. Navy’s ship self-defense systems.
Source: Orbital Sciences Corp.
Date: Sep 14, 2012