USASMDC successfully launches short range ballistic target

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 Tac­ti­cal Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile was suc­cess­ful­ly launched Feb. 15, off the 25K Trans­portable Tar­get Launch­er from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This launch demon­strat­ed the U.S. Army Space and Mis­sile Defense Command/Army Forces Strate­gic Command’s capa­bil­i­ty to pro­vide low-cost tar­gets to a vari­ety of cus­tomers. Total flight time was approx­i­mate­ly four min­utes.
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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.” 

U.S. Army 

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