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BAE SYSTEMS demonstrates successful flight of guided rocket

07 Oct 2002

BAE Systems successfully launched a 2.75-inch laser guided rocket using a unique mid-body fin-mounted guidance system, scoring a "bulls-eye" hit on a small target more than three miles away from its launch point. The Controlled Test Vehicle (CTV) was fired Sept. 19 at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona for the Army's Low Cost Precision Kill (LCPK) programme. The flight test verified airframe control and response to guidance commands.

"The LCPK programme, which is a major science and technology missile development effort, is an excellent example of government laboratory and industry teaming to mature key technologies in support of a critical Army requirement, said Bill Nourse, LCPK Advanced Technology Development (ATD) programme manager at the Army's Missile Research and Development Engineering Center.

"I am very pleased with BAE Systems flight test," said Carol Frazier, U.S. Army programme manager for Aviation Rockets and Missiles. "The guidance seeker acquired the laser spot and hit within one meter of the target centre at 5,500 meters. This significant milestone, which was achieved on the first shot, demonstrated the ability to achieve precision accuracy with the Hydra 70 rocket system," she said.

During the rocket's flight, the CTV completed a series of pre-programmed flight manoeuvres, demonstrating real-time aerodynamic control by the autopilot and inertial sensor. The test vehicle was launched with a fully integrated guidance and control system and semi-active laser seeker to evaluate subsystem performance in flight.

The shot, which demonstrated the robustness of the BAE Systems design, followed extensive hardware in the loop (HWIL) testing at the Army's Missile Research and Development Engineering Center facility, Huntsville, Alabama.

The LCPK programme is an Advanced Technology Development programme to develop prototype laser-based 2.75-inch guidance sections. BAE Systems Information & Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS), Nashua, New Hampshire, is working under a $5 million contract to design and develop the guided rocket.

Jim Mason, the unit's Vice President and General Manager for Mission Electronics, said the test is a major step toward "a guided rocket which promises extraordinary 'one-shot-one-kill' accuracy with low cost, high volume production capability."

Mason noted that two BAE Systems business units contributed to the success. BAE Systems Integrated Defense Solutions in Austin, Texas, received an ATD contract to develop the guidance section architecture culminating in proof-of-concept laboratory tests in 2001. The programme was transitioned to the Nashua business unit last year, and IEWS is now completing development and testing of the guidance section. "Rigorous step-by-step development in a 'virtual company' environment allowed the two units - Nashua and Austin - to leverage their unique strengths," Mason added.

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