The US Army and Raytheon have successfully carried out the first accelerated improved intercept initiative (AI3) guided test vehicle (GTV) flight test series at an undisclosed location.

During the two test flights, which involved testing against different target profiles, including the in-flight radio frequency datalink updates from the Ku band radio frequency system fire control radar, initially guided the interceptor following the launch.

Meanwhile, the missile’s terminal guidance was provided by on-board seeker to intercept the target while fire control radar was tracking the inbound rocket target threat.

US Army AI3 project director Michael Van Rassen said the team will continue to demonstrate enhanced capabilities of the AI3, which will save soldiers’ lives.

"These tests were the first opportunity to demonstrate the full integration and kill chain of the tactical AI3 battle element system," Rassen said.

"The first GTV flight test series marks a significant milestone for the US Army’s and Raytheon’s AI3 team."

The AI3 battle element system comprises of an Avenger AI3 launcher with modified technical fire control, the Raytheon AI3 missile and Ku band radio frequency system fire control radar as well as command and control node.

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Designed to meet cost requirements to provide an affordable solution for the troops, the system is scheduled to undergo capability demonstration in the third quarter of 2013.

Raytheon missile systems advanced missile systems vice-president Tom Bussing said the first GTV flight test series marks a significant milestone for the US Army’s and Raytheon’s AI3 team.

"The team continues to demonstrate extraordinary progress in a difficult mission area," Bussing said.

In addition to protecting soldiers by intercepting rockets in flight, the AI3 will enhance troops’ survivability against a wide range of incoming threats in the battlefield, such as artillery, mortars, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Later this year, Raytheon will conduct live-fire engagement of the system against a variety of targets.

Defence Technology