The US Army Cruise Missile Defense Systems Project Office has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to transition the Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor from its Science and Technology (S&T) phase to development stage.

Under the $2.6m deal, the company will be responsible for assessing the effectiveness of the missile and demonstrating its manufacturing readiness as part of the Extended Mission Area Missile Programme.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Force Protection programme manager Hal Stuart said: “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.”

The MHTK interceptor has been designed to defeat rocket, artillery and mortar targets and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) through body-to-body contact without a warhead at ranges projected to exceed those of current and interim systems.

“With its compact size, the MHTK allows for multiple rounds to be packaged in a very small footprint to help combat saturation attacks, effectively.”

The missile is 76cm long and has a diameter of 4cm, and weighs approximately 5lb at launch.

With its compact size, the MHTK allows for multiple rounds to be packaged in a very small footprint to help combat saturation attacks, effectively.

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The interceptor features kinetic energy and MHTK technology that helps to completely eliminate the threats.

In January this year, the MHTK missile conducted a controlled flight test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, to demonstrate the interceptor’s increased agility and validated the performance of the airframe and electronics.