The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded a contract to ATK to continue technology development of modular divert and attitude control system (MDACS) in support of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIB missile interceptors.
Under the contract, ATK will enhance the onboard compatible MDACS propulsion system to help provide the required momentum that will drive the kinetic warhead to accurately acquire and engage targets.
Advancing the propulsion system’s architecture will also enable warheads to maintain stable flight and perform manoeuvres before the final intercept.
ATK Missile Products vice president and general manager Cary Ralston said: "We look forward to applying our unique technical expertise in controllable solid propulsion solutions for this critical defence capability."
Technology development will also enhance the missile’s kinetic performance to meet requirements of the longer mission timelines related with increasing threats.
As a major part of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Phased Adaptive Approach fourth phase, the SM-3 Block IIB missile is expected to provide early intercept capabilities against intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats.
The missile will be equipped into the Aegis Weapon System, with the Aegis BMD 5.1 fire control and the mk41 vertical launching system.
Multiple contracts have been awarded by the US MDA for the concept definition and planning phase of the SM-3 IIB programme, with full development and flight testing being carried out in 2013.
The SM-3 Block IIB missile is scheduled to be operational in 2020.
Work under the $52.7m contract will be performed at ATK Defense Group’s facility in Elkton, Maryland, US.