By Jason B. Cutshaw, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public AffairsJuly 5, 2017
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command low-cost targets help support missions to defend the nation.
Members of the USASMDC/ARSTRAT Technical Center, in support of the Program Executive Office Missiles and Space's Lower Tier Program Office, or LTPO, provided realistic threat ballistic targets for use in testing the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, or PAC-3 (MSE), advanced missile defense systems.
SMDC's team accomplished one successful and one unsuccessful launches of two Sabre short-range ballistic missile targets at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, June 14.
"We were only able to launch one of the two targets we had planned, but it performed exceptionally and met all performance objectives," said Kevin Creekmore, acting division chief of Test Execution Support Division, or TESD. "The entire team worked extremely hard to achieve this milestone mission, overcoming several challenges and obstacles along the way."
Creekmore said it was a very complex mission requiring TESD to utilize the entire government and contractor team to plan, setup and execute the test. He added that TESD strives to provide efficient target development and test services to the Department of Defense and is able to execute with a small team of only seven government civilians.
"Our mission is to provide end-to-end test planning, design, development, integration and test execution, as well as flexible launch platforms and unique low-cost target solutions," Creekmore said. "The Sabre launches are another milestone in the low-cost suite of targets that provide solutions for integration missile defense developmental and operational testing, as well as foreign military sales applications."
During the testing, the Sabres were two of five targets involved in a multi-target threat suite. The other three targets were a BQM-163, MQM-107, and PAAT (Patriot as a target).
The test included multiple intercepts and was designed to simulate a real-world operational engagement scenario.
"This was an important test because it is a milestone decision for our customer, and provided a high level of complexity to an already rigorous test event," said Stephanie Chrisley, Sabre project engineer. "We learned a lot about working with multiple ranges and agencies in this test. There were several target providers as well as two ranges working together to provide a seamless test event for our customers. A test of this magnitude required a large amount of interoperability, communication and cooperation.
"The SMDC targets team, including our contractors, is absolutely the best," she added. "We are a small team. We work extremely hard, but we also work very efficiently. Everyone is extremely flexible and willing to go above and beyond to ensure our success."
Sabre-1 was not launched due to an anomalous condition that occurred shortly before scheduled firing. The incident is under investigate. A Failure Review Board will meet to determine the appropriate course of action and expected timeline for correction and potential future launch window.
Sabre-2 was successfully launched, met performance objectives and was engaged by Patriot. The Hit Detection System provided data, which is under analysis. A report was provided to LTPO and analysis is underway.
"All of the target providers and the ranges worked really well together," Chrisley said. "We were able to provide one successful target, and even with our other target that had to be stood-down at the last minute before launch, everyone did a great job of communicating directly and efficiently.
"We were able to rally through the launch abort of the first target, keep focused and move on to successfully launch the second target," she added. "As with any failure, there is a tremendous amount of learning that occurs as a result and we will definitely become smarter because of it."