Boeing and Bristol go ballistic

Boeing and Bristol Aerospace have entered into a teaming agreement for the pursuit of the theatre ballistic missile target market.

The US Army Aviation and Missile Command has announced the selection of the Boeing-Bristol Team’s Excalibur target system to provide tactical ballistic missile training targets (TBMTT) for live-fire training of tactical Patriot units.

The Excalibur target system is said to include a solid propellant booster and an inert second stage dart that carries a Boeing-designed Radio Frequency Signature Augmentation System (RF SAS).

The target is said to fly a ballistic trajectory profile that may be tailored to simulate various threats. The Bristol Division of the Magellan Aerospace Corporation originally developed and manufactured the Excalibur dart as a high altitude supersonic target for the Canadian navy.

In July 1999, during an air defence firing exercise, the Excalibur was used in the first tactical ballistic missile target engagement at the McGregor Range in New Mexico.

Three Excalibur targets were launched, which were detected, tracked and classified as threat theatre ballistic missiles by German and Dutch Air Force Patriot batteries, with successful engagements. In May 2000, the US Army 108th Air Defence Brigade also successfully employed five Excalibur targets during a live-fire exercise.

The Boeing-Bristol Team is now preparing to offer Bristol’s Black Brant sounding rocket as a medium-fidelity theatre ballistic missile target. Boeing will provide its guidance technologies and integration expertise in offering the Black Brant as a cost-effective solution for international theatre ballistic missile and US target requirements.