REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - Today the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command conducted a successful flight of the Zombie Pathfinder, a new short-range ballistic missile target, and the first of its type launched by the command.
At 9:15 a.m. Mountain Time, the rocket, designed to fly a ballistic flight path, was launched from the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
This was the first launch of the Zombie Pathfinder and it was a risk reduction flight to test the design, performance, and launch operations. Zombie Pathfinder is a guided low-cost target representing a class of threats used to demonstrate defensive protection capability.
"The launch of the Zombie Pathfinder is a milestone event which is critical to our short-range ballistic missile target development strategy," said Kevin Creekmore, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Test Execution Support Division chief and Zombie Pathfinder operations launch lead. "Over the last three years we have overcome obstacles and rallied as a unified team to make this event possible."
The Zombie Pathfinder program is managed and executed by SMDC's Test Execution Support Division at Redstone Arsenal.
"The value that this target brings in cost savings and performance value to support Army developmental and operational missile defense testing is monumental, "said Bryon Manley, director Air and Missile Defense Directorate. "I am very proud of Kevin and his team for their dedication and hard work. They have proven the ability to meet the 'Better Buying Power' objectives by remaining lean, agile and low cost."
The Zombie Pathfinder launch was supported by the SMDC-developed transportable, mission-configurable 25,000 pounds-capacity Transportable Target Launcher. The 25K TTL can be used to support operational test launches of theater-class tactical ballistic missile targets. Utilization of the 25K TTL is the most flexible and cost-effective means of presenting test scenarios in a threat representative construct due to the 25K TTL's ability to operate at both unimproved and improved range sites. Additionally, the 25K TTL is transportable by air or over-the-road, permitting use at all ranges.
Zombie Pathfinder is developed and administered by SMDC in conjunction with NASA. Zombie Pathfinder was developed by the SMDC Test Execution Support Division along with NASA, Orbital AKT and Teledyne Brown Engineering.