Quick Facts

Mobility Road-mobile; Mounted atop a medium tactical truck
Targets Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), cruise missiles, rockets, artillery, and mortars
Role Short- and medium-range multi-mission air defense system
Interceptors AIM-9X Sidewinder; Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK); Lockheed Martin’s Longbow Hellfire; Raytheon’s Stinger; Rafael’s Tamir[1]
Status Prototype and testing phase; two MML prototypes at White Sands Missile Range; Plans to develop eight additional MMLs
Producer Army Cruise Missile Defense Systems (CMDS) and the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC)

Overview

The Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) is a next generation ground-based air defense launcher and represents the first development of a major acquisition program by the government in more than 30 years. Developed by CMDS and AMRDEC of the U.S. Army, MML is designed to use existing interceptors, sensors, and command and control to provide 360-degree protection and engage multiple threats arriving from different azimuths.[2] The launcher is purposed to defeat UAS, cruise missiles, rockets, artillery, and mortars using a variety of missiles and interceptors. Employing both kinetic kill and fragmentation interceptors against various and advanced airborne threats, MML will provide expanded ground troop area protection for forces on the front line.[3]

The system’s fifteen launch tubes are mounted atop a medium tactical truck, can rotate 360 degrees, and elevate from 0-90 degrees.[4] Each launch tube is capable of holding a single large interceptor or multiple smaller ones. In addition to the launchers, the MML system operates in conjunction with an Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System as a command and control unit and a Sentinel radar system, which is used to alert and que the launchers and interceptors. The medium tactical truck pulls a trailer unit equipped with a missile data link, allowing the system to communicate with interceptors in-flight. An Army standard 60 kW generator is used to power the air defense system while emplaced.[5]

Interceptors Fired by MML

  • AIM-9X Sidewinder: Originally designed as an air-to-air missile and has recently been adopted as a ground-to-air interceptor because of its unique capabilities.
  • Longbow Hellfire: Originally designed as an air-to-ground tank-killing missile and has recently shown success in destroying UAS targets.[6]
  • Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK): Has no warhead and is designed to intercept and defeat rocket, artillery, and mortar threats with kinetic energy during a direct hit.[7]
  • Stinger: Originally developed as a man-portable air defense infrared homing surface-to-air missile and has been adapted to fire from a wide variety of ground vehicles.[8]
  • Tamir: Used by Israel’s Iron Dome to counter rockets, artillery, and mortars.[9]

Current Status

Currently, two prototype MMLs are being tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico as part of the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction acquisition phase. AMRDEC and CMDS will provide eight additional MML units throughout the next acquisition phase and the Army plans to field the launcher by 2019.[10]

Timeline

  • April 20, 2016: The U.S. Army successfully fired a Tamir missile—used by Israel’s Iron Dome—from the MML, engaging and destroying a UAS target. Also fired were the Longbow Hellfire, AIM-9X Sidewinder, and Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) missiles.[11]
  • April 4, 2016: The U.S. Army successfully fired a MHTK missile from MML.[12]
  • March 30, 2016: The U.S. Army successfully test fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile from the MML at White Sands Missile Range.[13]
  • March 25, 2016: The U.S. Army successfully fired a Longbow Hellfire missile from the MML launcher prototype. The Longbow Hellfire interceptor was commanded by the MML command and control system and used track data provided by a Sentinel radar unit.[14]
  • March 24, 2016: The U.S. Army successfully fired a Stinger missile from the MML.
  • September 3, 2015: The first MML prototype was delivered for testing as part of the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction acquisition phase.[15]
  • March 23, 2015: Three missiles were test launched from the MML Demonstration Unit. Of the three missiles launched, one was an AIM-9X Sidewinder that successfully intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle. The other two missiles—one a Low Cost Active Seeker and the other an MHTK interceptor—were successfully launched from the MML Demonstration Unit for flight tests.[16]
  • March 15, 2015: The MML Demonstration Unit launched three different types of interceptors to collect data and inform and verify engineering designs to reduce the program’s risk. One of the missiles successfully engaged an aerial target and the other two underwent successful flight tests.[17]
  • October 27, 2014: AMRDEC successfully fired three interceptors from the MML Demonstration Unit.[18]

Sources

[1] http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/land/army/2016/03/24/army-fires-stinger-multi-mission-launcher-test/82214128/

[2] https://www.army.mil/article/149241/New_air_defense_system_under_development_tested_at_WSMR/

[3] https://www.army.mil/article/145021/

[4] https://www.army.mil/article/154848/Multi_Mission_Launcher_Delivery_Ceremony

[5] Ibid.

[6] U_S__Army_Successfully_Fires_Missile_From_New_Interceptor_Launch_Platform

[7] https://www.army.mil/article/165692

[8] https://www.army.mil/article/164873/U_S__Army_successfully_fires_Stinger_missile_from_new_interceptor_launch_platform/

[9] https://www.army.mil/article/166397/U_S__Army_successfully_demonstrates_Iron_Dome_missile_from_new_interceptor_launch_platform/

[10] https://www.army.mil/article/145021/

[11] https://www.army.mil/article/166397/U_S__Army_successfully_demonstrates_Iron_Dome_missile_from_new_interceptor_launch_platform/

[12] https://www.army.mil/article/165692

[13] https://www.army.mil/article/165134/U_S__Army_successfully_fires_AIM_9X_missile_from_new_interceptor_launch_platform/

[14] https://www.army.mil/article/165106/U_S__Army_Successfully_Fires_Missile_From_New_Interceptor_Launch_Platform/

[15] https://www.army.mil/article/154848/Multi_Mission_Launcher_Delivery_Ceremony/

[16] https://www.army.mil/article/145021/

[17] https://www.army.mil/article/149241/New_air_defense_system_under_development_tested_at_WSMR/

[18] https://www.army.mil/article/137686/Multi_Mission_Launcher_Completes_Successful_Test_Firing/

Missile Defense

Contact

International Cooperation