Lockheed Martin announced on 13 June it has been awarded a $2.6 million dollar contract by the US Army Cruise Missile Defense Systems Project Office to mature the Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor, evaluate its effectiveness and demonstrate manufacturing readiness as part of the Extended Mission Area Missile Program. The award marks the MHTK's transition from the Science and Technology (S&T) phase to the Development phase.
Previous S&T contracts with the US Army, together with Lockheed Martin investment, has helped mature MHTK from basic research to a concept demonstration with two configurations – with semi-active and active RF seekers. MHTK has conducted a dozen flight tests, the most recent of which, a controlled flight test in January at White Sands Missile Range, NM, demonstrated the interceptor's increased agility and validated performance of the airframe and electronics, which are now common between MHTK's two configurations in order to drive affordability.
The MHTK missile is designed to defeat rocket, artillery and mortar targets through body-to-body contact without a warhead at ranges projected to exceed those of current and interim systems. The missile is just under 76 cm)in length, 4 cm in diameter and weighs about 2.2 kg at launch. Its compact size allows multiple rounds to be packaged in a very small footprint to effectively combat complex threat situations, such as saturation attacks. The MHTK interceptor complements the Lockheed Martin family of Hit-to-Kill missile interceptors, by delivering close range lethality with proven success for truly layered defence.
Marty Kauchak is a retired US Navy Captain, a defence writer, and a regular contributor to MT.