Friday, November 14, 2008

Northrop Grumman, Kinetic Energy Interceptors Team Verify Flight Configuration of First Stage Rocket Motor Components

Northrop Grumman, Kinetic Energy Interceptors Team Verify Flight Configuration of First Stage Rocket Motor Components

PROMONTORY, Utah, Nov. 14, 2008 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) yesterday conducted a successful static fire test of the Kinetic Energy Interceptors (KEI) first stage rocket motor that verified performance of key components in their flight configuration.

SUCCESSFUL KEI ROCKET MOTOR TEST - The Northrop Grumman-led Kinetic Energy Interceptors team successfully test fired the first stage rocket motor on Thursday, Nov. 13. The fourth of five planned first stage rocket motor test at teammate Alliant Techsystems' (ATK) facility in Promontory, Utah, tested key components in their flight configuration.

The test was the fourth of five planned static fire tests of the first stage motor by the Northrop Grumman-led KEI industry team. Conducted at teammate Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) facility in Promontory, Utah, the test also represented the first of two planned flight configuration tests, which focused on the performance of the onboard thrust vector control (TVC) subcomponents, and the motor's thrust and ballistics outputs. Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) oversaw the test as the team's lead for interceptor development.

"We are very confident from the results of this test that our first stage will perform as designed when we get to the actual test flight next year," said Anthony Spehar, vice president and KEI program manager for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "We will maintain our focus on mission assurance and safety as we advance to the next static fire of the first stage motor, which will be a test of the full flight configuration motor."

Designed and built by ATK, the first stage rocket motor burned successfully to completion and met all test objectives. Initial results from the test matched expectations for mechanical and ballistic performance. Detailed data collected during the test will be used to verify the motor's performance.

KEI is designed to be a globally deployable, mobile missile defense system. The production system will feature state-of-the-art components. Its highly maneuverable kill vehicle will be carried by a very fast acceleration/maneuverable missile that is cold gas-launched from a mobile platform and guided by a unique new sensor-fusing fire control capability. This integrated weapon system provides a persistent (24/7), all-weather capability to destroy intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missiles in their boost to midcourse phases of flight.

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