WASHINGTON — Israeli company Rafael’s Tamir and Lockheed Martin’s new Miniature Hit-to-Kill missile are both being offered to the Army as possible interceptors for the service’s Indirect Fires Protection Capability.
The Army is looking for a second interceptor for its multi-mission launcher — part of the IFPC Increment 2 program — having already chosen a first weapon, the Raytheon-manufactured AIM-9X Sidewinder missile.
The Army wants to qualify a variety of interceptors for the system and, in a search for the second one, is looking for capability to counter rockets, artillery, and mortars as well as provide residual cruise missile defense and defend against drones.
The Army initiated a competitive solicitation last year for what its calling the Expanded Mission Area Missile (EMAM). The service chose three vendors to be eligible for a contract award and in fiscal 2019, it will choose a single vendor to proceed to a preliminary design review stage.
Rafael is planning to offer Sky Hunter — which is essentially the U.S. version of the Tamir interceptor — through its U.S. partner Raytheon, a Rafael spokesman told Defense News.
In parallel, the company is offerings its full Iron Dome system, which was co-developed by Raytheon and heavily funded by the United States government, as an alternative to the Army’s internally developed multi-mission launcher which will ultimately fire the interceptor, the Rafael spokesman added.
Rafael brought Iron Dome to the States for the first time last fall to demonstrate its capability as a Short-Range Air Defense option for the Army.
The Army has already tested a wide variety of interceptors in its multi-mission launcher to include Tamir, as well as Hellfire Longbow, Stinger and Miniature Hit-to-Kill missiles.
Frank St. John, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for missiles and fire control, told Defense News in a recent interview that the company was offering its Mini Hit-to-Kill missile for the EMAM program.
The company has been developing the mini missile in Army labs and using internal research and development funding to bring it to life.
“It’s got a lot of capability at a really affordable price point,” St. John said. “We did some flight testing on it a couple of weeks ago.”
The testing, conducted at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on Jan. 30, demonstrated the interceptor’s increased agility and validated the performance of its airframe and electronics, according to a Lockheed statement.
St. John added the company was in the proposal process and expected the Army to make an award within a couple of months to get started on evaluating and testing the missile as an option for EMAM.
A Raytheon spokesman, John Patterson, told Defense News it was also offering an interceptor but would not discuss its submission at this time due to competitive reasons. It is unclear whether the submission is a separate offering from Sky Hunter or the same.
The Army plans to make an engineering and manufacturing development decision in the first quarter of FY20. A production decision is due in FY23.
Barbara Opall-Rome, Defense News Israeli bureau chief, contributed to this report
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.