Northrop Grumman Corporation has launched a ballistic missile target vehicle in collaboration with the US Navy, to bolster the Missile Defense Agency’s Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 32 (FTM-32). 

The Medium-Range Ballistic Missile Type 3 Configuration 2 (MRBM T3c2) Target Vehicle, a threat-representative two-stage, solid rocket-fuelled ballistic missile, took flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.

According to GlobalData’s “The Global Missiles & Missile Defense Systems Market 2023-2033” report, the third leading supplier in the North American region will be Northrop Grumman Corp., which is set to hold a 19.7% share over 2023–33.

The successful test showcased Northrop Grumman’s capabilities in developing and deploying missile technologies. It also demonstrated the readiness of the Aegis system to detect, track, engage, and intercept an advanced MRBM in the terminal phase of flight. 

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Utilising the Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) Dual II missile, the Aegis-equipped ship proved its effectiveness in countering evolving threats.

The US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG) is designed around the Aegis combat system, as per GlobalData’s US defence market intelligence.

Robin Heard, director of targets at Northrop Grumman, emphasised the significance of the achievement, stating, “This program capitalises on our proven history of innovative rocket designs, executed with speed and discipline.”

Developments such as these will benefit US allies. In January 2024, the Japanese Government’s Aegis System Equipped Vessel Program received support from the US Department of Defense (DoD), as confirmed by a contract modification issued on 12 January 2024. Valued at an estimated Y1trn ($7.1bn), this program aims to construct two ballistic missile defence warships equipped with ground-based Aegis ‘Ashore’ combat systems.