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USMC to conduct first live-fire test to ‘stress' MRIC prototype against cruise missile threat

Rockets launched towards Israel from the northern Gaza Strip are targeted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system on 14 May 2021. The USMC is moving forward with a new initiative that will repackage the Iron Dome launcher on a trailer. (Fatima Shbair/Getty Images)

The US Marine Corps (USMC) is poised to host its first live-fire test of its Medium Range Intercept Capability (MRIC) prototype that integrates key components of Rafael's Iron Dome with the service's AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) and its Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S), Janes understands.

During 2021, the service greenlit MRIC prototype production that moves the Iron Dome launcher off its base and it is repackaged on a trailer for expeditionary operations. In June, service officials told Janes that they will conduct three live-fire tests at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and the first would occur towards the end of the year. One source close to the initiative said this test is set for 16 December.

The service declined to confirm the test date, but USMC spokesperson Barbara Hamby said that the three tests set for fiscal year 2022 are still designed to test the MRIC prototype “against relevant cruise missile threats to stress the capability”.

In June, the USMC's Program Manager for Ground Based Air Defense and the Program Executive Officer Land Systems, Don Kelley, and the Capabilities Development Directorate's Deputy Director for the aviation combat element David Forrest, spoke with Janes about MRIC development plans.

“It's not cemented to the ground and stationary, it is able to be moved,” Forrest explained at the time. “If we can move it easier, that's the ultimate objective … and it can defend a host of sites but primarily temporary [and] fixed sites.”

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