News

Hera is flying from Wingate
SMDC PAO 3/2/98

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Commandís Ballistic Missile Targets Joint Project Office, in support of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organizationís Consolidated Targets Program, successfully tested a newly configured ballistic missile target vehicle launched from Fort Wingate to White Sands Missile Range, N.M., on March 2.

The Hera modified ballistic reentry vehicle, or MBRV-3, risk reduction flight consisted of a non-separating or unitary target on a shaped ballistic trajectory in a new configuration. It reached an altitude of approximately 98.5 kilometers and flew over a range of about 344.5 kilometers. The flight lasted 415 seconds.

"The Hera MBRV-3 is being developed by SMDCís Theater Targets Product Office for use in evaluating current and future theater missile defense weapon systems," said product manager Lt. Col. James D. Matthewson, Jr. While the Hera MBRV-3 is a new target vehicle, Matthewson noted that it is assembled primarily from surplus ballistic missile components to reduce costs and shorten development time. It is designed to provide Theater Missile Defense Major Acquisition Programs opportunities to track, intercept, and collect data.

The basic target configuration was the Hera Block IIB configuration with the MBRV-3, a guidance and control section extension, unitary guidance and control section, M57 motor adapter, M57A1 motor, pile driver control section, SR-19 motor, and SR-19 motor skirt.

 The objectives of this mission were to demonstrate launch, in-flight operation and performance of a Block IIB configuration with an MBRV-3 payload; demonstrate short range unitary reference trajectory; assess performance of new subsystems; validate Fort Wingate launch site; and verify performance simulations. The Program Executive Office - Air and Missile Defense also used this mission as a target of opportunity for the PATRIOT and Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) theater missile defense systems to track an incoming ballistic missile target.

"The success of this Hera MBRV-3 demonstration/risk reduction flight is a tribute to the dedicated efforts of the government and contractor team," Matthewson said. "SMDCís Theater Targets Product Office, White Sands Missile Range, Coleman Aerospace Company of Orlando, Fla., supported by principal subcontractors Space Vector Corporation of Fountain Valley, Calif. and Aerotherm Corporation of Mountain View, Calif., and the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Center, which supported rocket motor assembly, worked together to pull off this successful mission," he continued.