Encyclopedia Astronautica
Excalibur Target System


The Canadian-made Excalibur Target System was a boosted dart ballistic rocket whose flight could be tailored to simulate various threats for anti-tactical ballistic missile (TBM) system tests. The solid-propellant launched the dart segment to the necessary angle and velocity for the mission. The dart then separated from the booster. It carried a sophisticated electronic RFSAS Radio Frequency Signature Augmentation System, which electronically enlarged the target's radar cross-section to mimic the larger missile appropriate to the mission.

The RFSAS was manufactured by Boeing, while the Excalibur dart was originally developed and as a High-Altitude Supersonic Target for the Canadian Navy by Bristol Aerospace Limited. The Excalibur was considered an excellent representation of a Scud ballistic missile and was a target of choice for the training of Patriot surface-to-air missile units. Excalibur was launched at a nominal elevation angle of 82.5 degrees and reached an altitude of approximately 90 km. The flight trajectories of the targets take them down range 50 km where the Patriot units track the incoming targets. If a target is considered a ballistic missile threat, they will launch an intercept missile and detonate a warhead to destroy the target.

Excalibur targets were first used in missile defense training programs in July 1999, during NORAD's Roving Sands Air Defense Firing Exercise at the McGregor Range, New Mexico. Three Excalibur targets were successfully launched. They were detected, tracked, and classified as threat TBMs by German and Dutch Patriot batteries. In May 2000, the US Army 108th Air Defense Brigade successfully employed five Excalibur targets during an exercise at McGregor Range. In 2002 Bristol reported that it had designed and tested a new motor for the Excalibur 2 target rocket and that had a five-year contract to supply targets to the US Army for Patriot training exercises.

Success Rate: 100.00%. Launch data is: continuing.

Status: Active.
Height: 3.00 m (9.80 ft).
Diameter: 0.11 m (0.36 ft).
Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).
First Launch: 1999.07.01.
Last Launch: 2005.07.04.
Number: 11 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Bristol Canadian manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. Bristol Aerospace Limited, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Andoya Andoya Rocket Range (ARR) is the world's northernmost permanent launch facility for sounding rockets and scientific balloons and is responsible for all scientific-related balloon and rocket operations in Norwegian territory. ARR provides complete services for launch, operations, data acquisition, recovery and ground instrumentation support. The range has conducted more than 650 rocket launches and hosted scientists and engineers from more than 70 institutes and universities. More...
  • Fort Bliss Military testing range. In use from 1945 to present. Known to have been used for 75 major launches from 1963 to 2000, reaching up to 365 kilometers altitude. More...

Associated Stages

Excalibur Target System Chronology


1999 July 1 - . Launch Site: Fort Bliss. Launch Complex: Fort Bliss MCG. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • TBM Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1999 July 1 - . Launch Site: Fort Bliss. Launch Complex: Fort Bliss MCG. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • TBM Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1999 July 1 - . Launch Site: Fort Bliss. Launch Complex: Fort Bliss MCG. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • TBM Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2000 May 3 - . Launch Site: Fort Bliss. Launch Complex: Fort Bliss MCG. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • TBM Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2000 May 4 - . Launch Site: Fort Bliss. Launch Complex: Fort Bliss MCG. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • TBM Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2000 May 4 - . Launch Site: Fort Bliss. Launch Complex: Fort Bliss MCG. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • TBM Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2000 May 4 - . Launch Site: Fort Bliss. Launch Complex: Fort Bliss MCG. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • TBM Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2000 May 4 - . Launch Site: Fort Bliss. Launch Complex: Fort Bliss MCG. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • TBM Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2003 June 11 - . 16:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • MD08 / Excalibur Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2003 June 13 - . 15:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System.
  • MD09? / Excalibur Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2005 July 4 - . 22:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. Launch Vehicle: Excalibur Target System. LV Configuration: Excalibur 2.
  • MD11 / Mini Dusty Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

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