Northrop Grumman displays missile capability in flight test

17 December 2019 (Last Updated December 17th, 2019 10:41)

Northrop Grumman has supported the US Air Force’s (USAF) recent flight test of a prototype ground-launched ballistic missile.

Northrop Grumman displays missile capability in flight test
The USAF tested the ballistic missile from the 30th Space Wing’s Test Pad-01 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Credit: DoD.

Northrop Grumman has supported the US Air Force’s (USAF) recent flight test of a prototype ground-launched ballistic missile.

The conventionally configured ballistic missile was tested last week by the USAF in coordination with the Strategic Capabilities Office.

The test was conducted from the 30th Space Wing’s Test Pad-01 at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the flight lasted more than 500km.

In a statement, Northrop Grumman stated that the demonstration test proved the ability of the company to meet urgent requests from the Pentagon to rapidly develop and launch missiles.

Northrop Grumman launch vehicles vice-president Rich Straka said: “We pride ourselves on being the team that can rapidly design, develop and launch missiles contributing to the protection of the US and its allies.”

Pentagon will use data and feedback from the test results to inform the ‘development of future intermediate-range capabilities’.

USAF Space and Missile Systems Center Small Launch and Targets Division chief lieutenant colonel Ryan Rose said: “Our collaboration with Northrop Grumman demonstrates SMC’s commitment to exploring innovative, complementary capability for the airforce, DoD, and ultimately the warfighter.”

The flight test would not have been allowed under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The US formally pulled out of the treaty with Russia in August, accusing Russia of violating the pact obligations.

The pact prohibited all land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers missiles with ranges of between 500km and 5,500 km.

SMC stated that the launch mission was completed within nine months of contract award. Northrop Grumman was under contract to serve as the principal launch services contractor.