EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command successfully completed a test flight of the new Economical Target‑1, Feb. 15 at Eglin Air Force Base.
The Economical Target‑1, or ET‑1, missile was launched from the Santa Rosa Test Site with the support of the 46th Test Wing on Eglin Air Force Base into the ocean area within the test range. The target missile’s flight was successfully tracked by several range sensors and preliminary indications are that all data collection objectives were met.
“The Army and Department of Defense require threat-representative targets in testing,” said Bryon Manley, SMDC/ARSTRAT Technical Center flight test services chief. “The ET‑1 provides a cost effective, rail-launched, theater-class tactical ballistic missile target, and the ET‑1 is a new low-cost short range ballistic missile designed to supplement aging flight test inventories.”
This flight test was also used as a target of opportunity for the Weibel radar system. The Weibel radar system is a portable system owned and operated by Eglin Air Force Base that provides extremely detailed tracking and performance data.
ET‑1 is a threat representative tactical ballistic missile that provides reduced target cost impact for Operational Test and Evaluation Systems. ET‑1 is designed to fill capability gaps for representative threat targets for use in testing and could be used to test Patriot Advanced Concept‑3.
“The U.S. Army is the prime integrator,” Manley said. “ET‑1 was completed through a teaming agreement between the Army and the Air Force. The ET‑1 vehicle was assembled at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and is a combination of excess government furnished equipment.
“The body and motor are GFE, the nose and tail assembly was produced at Holloman Air Force Base and that is why this combination makes the ET‑1 economical,” he added.
The ET‑1 was launched using another new SMDC product, the 25K Transportable Target Launcher. The 25K TTL is a transportable, mission-configurable 25,000 pounds-capacity launcher developed to support DOD operational testing of theater-class tactical ballistic missile targets.
“The 25K TTL is a rapidly deployable (C‑17 and C‑5 transportable), treaty-compliant rail launch platform for theater-class tactical ballistic missile targets,” Manley said. “The 25K TTL is a cost effective, mobile launcher that can expand the number of available launch sites adding a more comprehensive selection of threat scenario geometries for tactical ballistic missile target testing on national ranges.”
As results from the initial launch come in, computer analysis will help improve the ET‑1 program and hopefully make it a more efficient system.
“The launch was good,” Manley said. “It went off without a hitch. Everything went smoothly as far as the launch was concerned. We couldn’t be happier. Mission requirements for future ET‑1 flight tests will be determined based on the results of today’s test.”