The US Missile Defense Agency successfully tests Orbital ATK’s enhanced MK 136 Third Stage Rocket Motor (TSRM) nozzle on the Raytheon Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block IB in Controlled Test Vehicles (CTVs)-01a/02.
These flight tests were conducted on May 25 and 26, 2016, respectively, at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The missiles were launched from a US Navy Aegis destroyer off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.
The primary objective of the flight tests was to demonstrate Orbital ATK’s enhanced TSRM nozzle, which improves performance of the SM-3 Block IB missile in a range of flight scenarios. The new nozzle features improvements to increase the robustness of the design across the operating environment. The two successful flight tests provided additional validation of the improved TSRM nozzle, and confirmed results seen in successful full-scale ground tests at Orbital ATK’s facility in Elkton, Maryland, and at the Air Force Rocket Laboratory test facility on Edwards Air Force Base.
Orbital ATK supplies the TSRM to SM-3 prime contractor Raytheon Company. The TSRM has a unique combination of capabilities that permits the SM-3 Block IB guided missile to address a broad range of threats as it intercepts and destroys the in-bound threat. Multiple propellant grains allow for varied inter-pulse delays, while a thrust vector control nozzle and an attitude control system ensure that the TSRM optimizes the trajectory prior to separation of the kill vehicle for final intercept.