Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced May 16 that its propulsion systems successfully contributed to the third consecutive intercept test of Raytheon’s Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB.
The SM-3 Block IB missile is part of the Missile Defense Agency’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. During Flight Test Mission-19, the sea-based missile intercepted and destroyed a separating ballistic missile target, further validating the system’s capability. Aerojet’s MK 72 booster and MK 104 dual-thrust rocket motor provided the first- and second-stage propulsion, while Aerojet’s Throttling Divert and Attitude Control System maneuvered the Kinetic Warhead into the target for the final hit-to-kill impact.
The SM-3 Block IB missile incorporates kinetic warhead improvements to increase the SM-3 Block IB missile’s capability against current and emerging target threat sets. Aerojet incorporated its throttling solid rocket technology advancements into the TDACS design to provide increased mission flexibility to the war fighter while maintaining the solid propellant safety features.
The SM-3 Block IB missiles will be deployed on Aegis cruisers and destroyers, and also on land sites as part of the Aegis Ashore program to defend against short-to-intermediate range ballistic missile threats in the mid-course phase of flight. Raytheon is the prime contractor for SM-3 development.
“Aerojet continues its string of successes with this third consecutive successful intercept,” said Vice President of Missile Defense and Strategic Systems, Michael Bright. “The TDACS has demonstrated exceptional performance under varying test scenarios for all flight tests. This flight testing and the recent successful TDACS ground qualification testing provide Raytheon and the MDA with the confidence that this system is ready to move into production and become the workhorse for the fleet. I am extremely proud of the Aerojet TDACS team. The long hours and individual sacrifices may be what no one sees, but they see the results and the world will be a safer place for this effort. We are proud to be a part of the Raytheon team.”
In concert with Raytheon, Aerojet is developing the next generation of sea- and land-based U.S. missile defense capabilities by providing reliable, low-risk propulsion technologies. In addition to the current production of MK 72 and MK 104 rocket motors and the SM-3 Block IB TDACS, the company is developing the TDACS for SM-3 Block IIA, the planned missile variant upgrade to the current SM-3 Block IA and IB.