Lockheed Martin, supported by the US Army’s Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Centre (AMRDEC), has completed a controlled test flight of its improved-design Miniature-Hit-To-Kill (MHTK) interceptor to verify the performance of the missile’s enhanced airframe with an updated electronics package.
Conducted at the US Army’s White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on 26 January, the company-funded flight test was the first with the modernised electronics suite, and the second flight of the new airframe – the first was conducted in July 2016.
Originally developed by Lockheed Martin to address AMRDEC’s Extended Area Protection and Survivability Science & Technology (EAPS S&T) initiative, the MHTK is a compact counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM)-optimised interceptor designed to deliver area protection against proliferating high-volume, low-technology threats in theatre.
Designed to be fired from the US Army’s Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) air defence launcher, the initial MHTK solution provided for an interceptor with semi-active radar guidance, an airframe measuring just under 68.6 cm (27 in) in length and approximately 40 mm (1.6 in) in diameter, with a launch weight of about 2.2 kg (5.5 lb).
The enhanced design airframe sees an increase in the length of the airframe to just over 71.1cm (28 in) to accommodate a larger battery and some additional electronics for the seeker – but with no change in weight and a slightly sharper front end. Four asymmetrically aligned smaller fins have been added slightly forward of the primary four-fin tail assembly near the base of the rocket motor. The diameter of the missile has not changed, but the increase in length provides for a larger battery and additional electronics for the seeker.
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