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Flight test for mini-interceptor

DALLAS, March 25 (UPI) — A miniature hit-to-kill interceptor to defeat rockets, artillery and mortars has been tested by Lockheed Martin in collaboration with the U.S. Army.

The interceptor is part of Lockheed’s Extended Area Protection and Survivability program and the test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was to characterize its seeker, guidance, navigation and control systems.

“This guided flight represents progress for the program,” said Loretta Painter, program director. “The data collected (are) an important step toward our goal of providing improved indirect fire protection capability.

“We are very pleased with the initial review of the test data and this data will be extremely valuable in reducing risks and making necessary improvements prior to the next flight.”

Lockheed said the test replicated a tactical situation. A radar successfully detected and tracked a mortar in flight and the tactically configured MHTK interceptor, launched vertically, flew a trajectory that positioned it to detect energy from a ground illuminator reflected off the mortar target.

The MHTK interceptor then maneuvered close to the target and gathered data through its seeker. Intercepting the target was not an objective of the flight test, Lockheed said.

“We continue to successfully demonstrate the MHTK intercept capability with our EAPS solution,” said Mike Trotsky, vice president of Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We are confident the system will play a crucial role in the affordable and effective protection of our forces in the future.”

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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