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Orbital ATK announced the successful launch of its Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) target for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The target was launched in support of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) flight test program for MDA.
The IRBM target was air-dropped from the cargo hold of a C-17 aircraft and lowered by parachutes before igniting and performing its mission of simulating an intermediate range ballistic missile threat. The company’s air-launched IRBM system provides MDA with increased flexibility in testing its Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). These tests are a critical element of the U.S. missile shield.
“Orbital ATK designed the IRBM to provide more flexible targets at a lower cost to meet the customer’s current and future needs,” said Rich Straka, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Launch Vehicles Division. “Congratulations to our Orbital ATK employees and the entire MDA team for mission success on this flight test.”
The company’s IRBM target program currently has a contract ceiling of $1.4 billion, including all options. A total of sixteen vehicles are now under contract through 2019 with options for additional vehicles.
“Orbital ATK takes great pride in our contribution of designing and deploying sophisticated target systems to test the nation’s missile defense systems against all possible threats,” said Straka. “We remain committed to the defense of this nation and our allies around the world.”
The IRBM target uses the company’s Orion family of solid rocket motors, originally designed for the air-launched Pegasus space launch vehicle. Other Orbital ATK rockets that use Orion motors include the Minotaur family of vehicles and the Orbital Boost Vehicle (OBV) long-range interceptor for MDA’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program. Employees from Orbital ATK’s facilities in Huntsville, Alabama; Chandler, Arizona; and Magna and Clearfield, Utah, contributed to this successful test.
Orbital ATK provides a complete suite of threat-representative missiles target products, spanning short-, medium-, intermediate- and long-range ballistic missiles that use both new and surplus rocket motors to provide the best value to MDA and other U.S. government agencies. The company also produces short-range ramjet-propelled targets for the U.S. Navy, including sea-skimming and high-altitude variants, for ship self-defense exercises. During the past 30 years, Orbital ATK has built and launched more than 200 target vehicles from 11 launch sites around the world.
About Orbital ATK
Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 13,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations.