New Launcher to Deploy C-RAM, C-UAV and Counter Cruise-Missile Defenses by 2019

March 30, 2015

Defense Update:

The US Army is seeking to field a new air defense system comprising two types of missiles, capable to protecting military forces against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), Rockets, Artillery and Mortars. The development of the truck mounted system is part of the ‘Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 Intercept (IFPC Inc. 2-I) Program of Record, designed to improve force protection for rapid deployment forces on contingencies beyond 2020.

Last month the Army successfully tested the Multi-Mission Launcher (MML), launching three different missiles from the MML Demonstration Unit at the White Sands missile range in NM. The MML is designed to carry 16 missiles in sealed, ready-to-launch canisters. As a modular open system, MML will be able to use different interceptors to provide the necessary protection, depending on the threat level encountered by the troops.

Multi-Mission Launcher

The Army has already implemented the multi-mission launcher approach in the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and Avenger mobile air defense system. Once deployed, the new MML is expected complement the Avenger in the air defense units.

The recent test, conducted under IFPC Inc. 2-I, launched three different missiles – an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile, another missile carrying a ‘Low Cost Active Seeker’ developed by the US Army, and the Miniature Hit-to-Kill vehicle carrying semi-active seeker, developed by Lockheed martin under the Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) program. The AIM-9X missile was employed against a UAV flying in a pattern, the other two missiles launched from the MML flew ballistic trajectories.

The test verified the MML tube integrity and the systems’ missile stack integration. The full capability of the system, demonstrating the concept’s network performance is scheduled for 2016, using two MMLs against UAVs and cruise missiles. The Army plans to field the system in 2019.

Developed under the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Command (ARMDEC), the MML program is underway to deliver the two prototypes for integration into the IFPCInc 2-I system during the forthcoming technology maturation and risk reduction phase of the development. “The IFPC system will close critical capability gaps for the Navy and the Air Force. Seeing the launcher come together is very rewarding.” Lt. Col. Mark Talbot, IFPC Inc. 2 Project Manager commented.

Sensors, Command and Control

MML is built on open architecture and will have the capacity to launch a variety of interceptors to provide 360-degree protection against simultaneous threats from rockets, artillery, mortars, precision guided ordnance, cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems. IFPS will become part of the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IMAD) Battle Command System (BCS) which also follows open-system architecture. IMAD will be able to allocate target data through the Engagement Operations Cell which links to Sentinel target acquisition radars, acting as the integral fire control sensor for IFPS.

The Improved Sentinel (AN/MPQ-64F1) is a 3D phased array tactical air defense radar developed by ThalesRaytheon Systems. It automatically detects, tracks, identifies, classifies and reports airborne threats. It detects helicopters, high-speed attack aircraft and cruise missiles over 360°. IFPC Inc. 2-I will fund the software upgrades to support the current Sentinel’s counter UAS and CM mission.

More than 200 systems have been ordered worldwide, with more than 100 delivered or in production. Future enhancements currently in development include an 80 percent increase in the radar’s detection range…

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