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Raytheon, Aerojet Test New Propulsion System for Air-Launched Missile Defense System
TUCSON, Ariz., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has demonstrated a key propulsion component of the Network Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE) program.
NCADE is a missile defense system that will affordably leverage operational tactical missile technologies and infrastructure.
As part of the NCADE risk-reduction program, Raytheon and partner Aerojet tested an advanced hydroxylammonium nitrate thruster that provided more than 150 pounds of thrust for longer than 25 seconds. This test, which took place at the Aerojet facility in Redmond, Wash., demonstrated what the Missile Defense Agency calls "knowledge points."
The thruster is an advanced monopropellant that provides increased performance and high-density packaging that will result in lighter, higher- velocity interceptors. Hydroxylammonium nitrate is also less toxic and easier to handle than other propellants. This propulsion technology could eventually enable safe shipboard operation.
Raytheon also fabricated two prototype NCADE seekers. The seekers have undergone characterization testing in a high-fidelity simulator demonstrating their ability to track a booster in the presence of a bright rocket plume.
"Network Centric Airborne Defense Element fills a critical niche in the Ballistic Missile Defense system and provides a revolutionary, low-cost approach to interceptor development and acquisition cost," said Mike Booen, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Advanced Missile Defense.
NCADE is an air-launched weapon system designed to engage short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in the boost, ascent or terminal flight phases.
The NCADE interceptor leverages many proven components and technologies, including the aerodynamic design, aircraft interface and flight control system of Raytheon's Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile. The commonality with AMRAAM enables NCADE to launch from a wide variety of aircraft. NCADE's small size enables it to be carried by and launched from smaller unmanned aerial vehicles, providing a potential operational advantage.
Network Centric Airborne Defense Element also leverages proven imaging infrared seeker components from existing Raytheon production programs. This enables a potentially rapid development and fielding path.
Raytheon Company, with 2006 sales of $20.3 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 85 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.