Raytheon Moves Forward With AI3 Rocket-Intercept Project

Raytheon (NYSE: RTN  ) has completed a successful series of flights for control test vehicles (CTV) in the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative, aka AI3, the company announced this week.

The AI3 goal is to destroy a wider variety of artillery, rockets, and other types of weaponry, in order to protect warfighters.

The company's most recent test flight consisted of the Ku-Band Radio Frequency System (KRFS) detecting a would-be threat, calculating the impact on a protected area, and guiding an AI3 missile through datalink. The missile successfully intercepted the incoming rocket, according to Raytheon.

Representatives from both Raytheon and the U.S. Army have spoken favorably about the recent tests. Steve Bennett, Raytheon's director of the AI3 program, believes the tests' success mean "the AI3 program remains on schedule." The Army's AI3 project manager, Lt. Col. Brett Wilhide, said the project is now ready to "progress to the guided test vehicle flight test phase of the program. Those tests will demonstrate the full integration of the tactical AI3 battle element system to intercept threat targets."

Raytheon announced in March 2012 that the Army had awarded it a $79.2 million contract to develop a system to detect and destroy incoming rockets: the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative to include an interceptor developed by Raytheon and a government-furnished launcher, fire control system, and command and control system.

The next set of tests will include an onboard semiactive radar seeker, which will perform terminal guidance to intercept its targets. 

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