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Northrop Grumman Supports Successful Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Test

File photo of a Castor IV target missile launch.

Reston VA (SPX) Dec 09, 2005
Northrop Grumman played a key role in the successful test of the Aegis ballistic missile defense system last month by supporting the technical preparation and launch of the medium-range target missile that provided an interceptor opportunity for this sea-based ballistic missile defense system.

During this test, a 30,000 lb Castor IVB target missile was ground-launched from the Kauai Test Facility located on the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, and was destroyed by a Standard Missile-3 fired off of the USS Lake Erie, an Aegis ballistic missile defense system cruiser.

Through its contract with the U.S. Air Force Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP), Northrop Grumman provided independent mission assurance to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) by performing independent analyses to verify the target's design and performance and supported testing, processing and launch operations to be sure the target will launch and perform as required.

This successful event marks the 39th consecutive successful launch supported by Northrop Grumman under the RSLP, including two satellite launches and three other target launches this year. Together with the Air Force, Northrop Grumman has provided key engineering support to ensure each motor and all components of the missiles were properly refurbished, tested and ready for flight. Despite their age, more than 156 motors have been used without a failure in the past nine years to support a wide range of launch systems and mission applications.

"Northrop Grumman is committed to the success of the Air Force's Rocket Systems Launch Program and MDA's ballistic missile defense system programs," said Frank Moore, vice president of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' missile defense division.

"Successfully completing 39 consecutive launches is a testament to the strong emphasis Northrop Grumman places on mission assurance activities. This drive to realize mission assurance goals allows our Air Force and MDA customers to effectively and confidently carry out their work to defend our nation."

In April, Northrop Grumman also provided independent mission assurance to the MDA on a medium-range target risk-reduction flight test where a Castor IVB target missile was air-launched from the Pacific Missile Test Range Facility. Many of the technical parameters and constraints associated with the target were identified in this risk-reduction test and used as "lessons learned" on the Aegis ballistic missile defense test.

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