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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

08 June 2016

US MDA Completes Successful Flight Tests of Enhanced Nozzle for SM-3 Third Stage Rocket Motor

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has successfully tested its enhanced MK 136 Third Stage Rocket Motor (TSRM) nozzle on the Raytheon Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block IB in Controlled Test Vehicles (CTVs)-01a/02. These flight tests were conducted 25-26 May at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The missiles were launched from a US Navy AEGIS destroyer off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

The primary objective of the flight tests was to demonstrate Orbital ATK’s enhanced TSRM nozzle, which improves performance of the SM-3 Block IB missile in a range of flight scenarios. The new nozzle features improvements to increase the robustness of the design across the operating environment. The two successful flight tests provided additional validation of the improved TSRM nozzle, and confirmed results seen in successful full-scale ground tests at Orbital ATK’s facility in Elkton, MA, and at the Air Force Rocket Laboratory test facility on Edwards Air Force Base.

Orbital ATK continues to work with its partners on the SM-3 team to successfully evolve the most advanced solid rocket subsystem ever fielded,” said Pat Nolan, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Missile Products division of the Defense Systems Group. “These successful tests demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the SM-3 programme and ensure we have a capable and reliable system for the defense of our nation and allies.”

Orbital ATK supplies the TSRM to SM-3 prime contractor Raytheon. The TSRM has a combination of capabilities that permits the SM-3 Block IB guided missile to address a broad range of threats as it intercepts and destroys the in-bound threat. Multiple propellant grains allow for varied inter-pulse delays, while a thrust vector control nozzle and an attitude control system ensure that the TSRM optimizes the trajectory prior to separation of the kill vehicle for final intercept.