Update--Cooling System to be Fixed for Next Flight Test, BMDO Says

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Story Filed: Friday, March 10, 2000 12:46 PM EST

Mar. 09, 2000 (Defense Daily, Vol. 205, No. 44 via COMTEX) -- By Frank Wolfe

The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization believes a malfunction in the Krypton 3 initial cooling system for the Raytheon [RTNA/RTNB] Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) was most likely responsible for January's flight test miss of the National Missile Defense (NMD) system.

"We know how to fix this, and we will in subsequent tests," Army Maj. Gen. Peter Franklin, BMDO's deputy director, told a Lexington Institute missile defense conference yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Lehner, a BMDO spokesman, said yesterday that the fix is not costly nor complicated and will be in place for Integrated Flight Test-5 (IFT-5) scheduled in May. The Krypton 3 system provides initial coolant for the EKV sensor, which is then further cooled by nitrogen gas. The systems are designed to cool the sensor, which is subjected to extremely high temperatures, throughout the interceptor's flight path.

Last October, a prototype EKV demonstrated hit-to-kill technology, but in a later flight test the EKV did not intercept the target (Defense Daily, Jan. 20).

BMDO said at the time that faulty infrared sensors on the EKV, resulting from a gas leak, were responsible for the miss.

Boeing [BA] is the lead system integrator for NMD, while Lockheed Martin [LMT] is the prime contractor on the booster system. TRW [TRW] builds the system's battle command, control and communications.

Copyright ) 2000, Agencia EFE, all rights reserved.



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