Orbital launches Patriot Target Vehicle in missile defense test under U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center contract

Patriot missile defense system
Patriot missile defense system

DULLES, Va., 14 Sept. 2012. Orbital Sciences Corp. (NYSE:ORB), under a U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Space Development Launch Operations (SDLO) contract, launched a Patriot Target Vehicle (PTV) as an intercept target for the U.S. Army Lower Tier Project Office (LTPO) Patriot missile defense system. 

The PTV launched from Fort Wingate into White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico; flew a southerly trajectory over WSMR; and was intercepted by a Patriot PAC-3 missile interceptor system during reentry.

Juno, a Patriot Target Vehicle and the third Orbital-provided target launched under contract with the U.S. Air Force, was designed, built, tested, and launched to support the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of the PAC-3 missile to United Arab Emirates (UAE) under an LTPO contract. The UAE is a key U.S. partner in the upgrade of the PAC-3 missile system.

“We are very pleased to support the U.S Air Force/SMC and U.S. Army/Lower Tier Project Office with a third successful target launch, culminating in a successful intercept,” explains Ron Wiley, senior vice president of Suborbital Launch Systems at Orbital. “We look forward to supporting future tests for the Space and Missile Systems Center with the Juno target, which has successfully demonstrated its capabilities as a robust, well-characterized target system for SDLO missions and Patriot engagements.”

Orbital engineers, over a 2.5-year period under contract to Space Development Launch Operations, developed the PTV target vehicle according to specifications that required the vehicle to have selectable reentry dynamic performance. The Juno PTV rocket relies on flight-proven designs from other Orbital launch vehicles, including the Medium Range Target, Storm Short-Range Target, and Pegasus space launch vehicle.


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