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Australia and the United States conducted a series of joint scientific experiments in September 1997 to investigate early detection of theater ballistic missile launches. The 1997 Australia-US sensor experiment was known as DUNDEE (Down UNDer Early-warning Experiment).

There were no ballistic missiles--dummy or otherwise--in this experiment. Four Terrier-Orion tactical surface-to-air rockets, modified to have a radar cross-section equivalent to a typical theatre ballistic missile were fired out to sea from a coastal launch site. They were not aimed at anything other than a patch of sea and nothing was fired at them. The sole purpose of the experiment was to test a range of sensors, including the Jindalee over-the-horizon radar at Alice Springs. The rockets were not equipped to carry warheads--they were simply targets for the sensors.

The project tested the capacity of a range of terrestrial and space-based sensors, including Australia's Jindalee over-the-horizon radar-developed by DSTO-to detect the launch of simulated theatre ballistic missiles. It was the major trial in 1997 involving DSTO's Wide Area Surveillance Division-formerly High Frequency Radar Division. No anti-missile weapons were fired or tested during the project because the objective is to test the capabilities of sensors, not weapons. The Australian Government had indicated that it has no intention to develop a theater ballistic missile defence system.

The launch site was chosen so that the missiles are within the viewing area of the Jindalee over-the-horizon radar near Alice Springs. The Woomera range in South Australia, which is familiar to many Australians as the site of earlier rocket tests, is not within the Jindalee viewing area and therefore is not suitable for the experiment.

The project team fired four "dummy" missiles, modified US Terrier-Improved-Orion rockets, about 100 kilometers out to sea from a Defence Practice Area on the coast of northwest Australia between Broome and Port Hedland from 1-14 September. As in other live firing exercises, air, land and sea access to this Defence Practice Area was closed to the public for safety reasons.

The US Terrier-Improved-Orion rocket is a reconfiguration of tried and tested US rocket technology. Its purpose is solely to be a sensor target, simulating theatre ballistic missiles, for the range of sensors which will gather data in Project DUNDEE. The rocket comprises a Terrier MK-12 solid rocket motor (first stage), an improved dual thrust Orion solid rocket motor (second stage), and a 7.32 meter steel forebody extension containing a beacon for satellite tracking purposes. Total target length is 13.95 meters.

The Terrier Mk-12 solid rocket booster was developed for the US Navy Terrier surface-to-air missile system. This motor burns for 5.2 seconds at high thrust to provide maximum velocity at rail exit, increasing vehicle spin rate and stability. On burnout, the motor separates from the target and impacts the earth within 5km of the launch point.

The Improved Orion solid rocket motor was developed for US Marine Corps defence systems. This motor contains both a high thrust booster grain propellant and a sustainer propellant for a total burn time of 25.4 seconds. Upon burnout, the motor remains attached to the forebody and maintain a ballistic flight path to impact, approximately 117km down range.

The DUNDEE targets were designed to provide a 10-meter target section and maximum burnout altitude for the Jindalee Facility Alice Springs (JFAS). Target burnout occurs at approximately 40km altitude at a velocity of 1.65km/sec.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) test-flew the Terrier-Improved-Orion configuration at White Sands Missile Range, in southern New Mexico, and at Wallops Flight Facility, on the Virginia coast of the United States. The configuration currently has a 100 per cent success rate.

U.S. Terrrier-Improved Orion Rocket (18K)

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U.S. Terrrier-Improved Orion Rocket -
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U.S. Terrrier-Improved Orion Rocket -
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