New Target System Demonstrates Right Stuff
Army Space and Missile Defense Command demonstrates new ballistic missile target
On May 28, 2000, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) successfully conducted the demonstration flight of the Orbital/Suborbital Program, or OSP, Target Launch Vehicle, or TVL, SMDC’s newest strategic target from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.  The Ballistic Missile Targets Joint Project Office (BMTJPO) is the executing agent for all ballistic missile targets acquired for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO).  BMTJPO’s Strategic Targets Product Office (STPO) provides all strategic missile targets for BMDO’s National Missile Defense, or NMD, program.

The new target launch vehicle was developed to meet future integrated flight test requirements for NMD. The TLV system consists of a front section atop a three-stage Minuteman II booster.  The front section is comprised of a clamshell shroud which houses the target payload, the guidance control assembly module and a separation module.  Orbital Sciences Corporation, under contract to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), builds the front section and provides launch services for the OSP mission.

Sandia National Laboratories builds the target payloads and the deployment rack.  The payload for the demonstration mission consisted of a re-entry vehicle mass simulator, and instrumented medium balloon decoy, four canisterized medium balloon decoys, and a canisterized large balloon decoy.  This payload was selected to provide traceability to previous NMD missions while flight testing new technologies.

The OSP TLV demonstration flight is also being used as a risk reduction flight by NMD for its radars and battle management system elements.  No intercept was attempted.  In the demonstration flight, the OSP TLV was launched from Launch Facility 06 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to a point in the broad ocean area north of SMDC's Kwajalein Missile Range.   The re-entry vehicle mass simulator traveled over 4000 miles before burning up in the atmosphere upon re-entry.  Some of SMDC’s sensors participating as part of the risk reduction flight were the Airborne Surveillance Testbed and HALO/IRIS airplane.

 “Our joint team has worked extremely hard to get to this point and we look forward to NMD intercepting re-entry vehicles from our new launch system in the future,” said Lt. Col. Tom Harvill, product manager of the STPO at SMDC’s BMTJPO in Huntsville, Ala.


News released furnished by U.S. Army Space and Missile Command Public Affairs Office

Posted 2 June 2000