Eurosatory 2018: Lockheed Martin’s MHTK Interceptor matures to development stage

On the occasion of Eurosatory 2018, Lockheed Martin announced it's latest award by the U.S. Army Cruise Missile Defense Systems Project Office. A contract of $2.6 million dollar 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. Announced by the company at the Eurosatory exhibition, this award marks the MHTK's transition from the Science and Technology (S&T) phase to the Development phase.

Lockheed Martins MHTK Interceptor matures to development stage 
Mr. Howard  Bromberg, VP for Strategy and Business Development - Integrated Air and Missile Defense presenting a full scale and weight mock up of the Minitiature Hit-to-Kill Interceptor at Eurosatory 2018. (Picture source Army Recognition)

"This award brings us one step closer to addressing a top battlefield priority – having an effective and cost-efficient solution to defeat rockets, artillery, mortars and other airborne targets," said Hal Stuart, Force Protection program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

Previous S&T contracts with the U.S. Army, together with Lockheed Martin investment, helped mature the MHTK missile from basic research to a concept demonstration with two configurations – a semi-active radio frequency seeker and an active radio frequency seeker.  MHTK has conducted a dozen flight tests with a combination of investment and contract funds. The most recent controlled flight test in January at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, demonstrated the interceptor's increased agility and validated performance of the airframe and electronics, which are now common between MHTK's two configurations 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 two and a half feet (76 cm) in length, an inch and a half (4 cm) in diameter and weighs about five pounds (2.2 kg) at launch. The compact size of MHTK allows multiple rounds to be packaged in a very small footprint to effectively combat complex threat situations like 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 defense.

As stated during the Press conference, the MHTK will be offered for the US Army's Expanded Mission Area Missile programme. The winning proposal is expected to be announced in 2019 and the system's fielding will take place in the 2022-2023 period.

Both types of seekers will be available for use on launching boxes containing 16 missiles each. A vehicle platform will be equipped with two launching boxes - one with MHTK missiles with active radio frequency seeker and the other with semi-active radio frequency seekers, so as to be capable of addressing a variety of threats.