PLV Payload Launch Vehicle
AKA: Payload Launch Vehicle;PLV. Status: Active. First Launch: 1997-06-24. Last Launch: 2002-12-11. Number: 10 . Thrust: 267.00 kN (60,023 lbf). Gross mass: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb). Height: 10.30 m (33.70 ft). Diameter: 1.32 m (4.33 ft). Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).
2 stage vehicle consisting of 1 x SR19AJ1 + 1 x M57A1
Non-intercept fly-by to assess the performance of the Boeing-built EKV seeker, collect target phenomenological data, and evaluate (post-test) target-modeling and discrimination algorithms. Boeing was not chosen as the NMD EKV contractor, partly as a result of its system's performance on this test.
Non-intercept fly-by to assess the performance of the Raytheon-built EKV seeker, collect target phenomenological data, and evaluate (post-test) target-modeling and discrimination algorithms. Raytheon was chosen as the NMD EKV contractor, partly as a result of its system's performance on this test.
EKV anti-ballistic missile interceptor launched from Kwajalein Atoll by a two-stage PLV. Intercept of the MSLS launched by Minuteman 2 from Vandenberg was successful. Element test of the EKV, not an end-to-end system test, which relied on a surrogate booster vehicle and range assets to define the deployment basket and deliver the EKV to that location. Once deployed, the EKV operated autonomously to intercept the mock RV. Due to a malfunctioning Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which normally was used to position the EKV for the intercept, a backup method of locating the target had to be exercised. The EKV called upon its step-stare capabilities (which were used only during off-nominal circumstances) to extend its field of view since the target was not where it was anticipated. After executing that procedure, the EKV acquired its target.
Unsuccessful ABM test. First end-to-end system test (intercept attempt) using NMD prototype elements (except the IFICS) and range assets to approximate the objective system. The EKV was again successfully delivered by a surrogate booster and separated into the deployment basket. The failure to intercept was directly traceable to the cryogenic cooling system of the EKV, which failed to cool the IR sensors down to their operating temperatures in time because of an obstructed cooling line.
ABM test failure. Second end-to-end system test (intercept attempt) using NMD prototype elements and range assets to approximate the objective system. The IFICS served as the communication link between the BMC3 and EKV. The EKV did not separate from the surrogate booster due to an apparent failure in the 1553 data bus in the booster.
Successful ABM test, a repeat of IFT-5. The US Army then launched the Lockheed Martin PLV, consisting of SR19 and M57A1 stages, to an intercept it at an altitude of 225 km. The test was part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defence Segment of the NMD (National Missile Defense) program.The prototype X-Band radar (XBR) used in IFT-6 could not process all the information it was receiving quickly enough, causing it to falsely report that the interceptor had missed its target. But in fact the interceptor functioned correctly, and the kill was confirmed by sensors on a satellite, a 747 jet, and ground stations. Starting in IFT-6, a recurring error was identified in the EKV's target position estimation data. The glitch never interfered with the effectiveness of the EKV, and was attributed to degraded EKV inertial measurement unit output data caused by electromagnetic interference from test-unique cabling.
Successful intercept. The target suite consisted of a mock warhead and a number of decoys launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, towards the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein. IFT-9 (largely a replay of IFT-8) was designed to increase confidence in the GMD capability to execute hit-to-kill intercepts. Overall, the test execution was nominal although the EKV experienced the track gate anomaly previously observed in IFT-7 and IFT-8. The software changes incorporated in IFT-9 to mitigate this problem were not successful. The Aegis SPY-1 radar was used for the first time in a national missile defense capacity.
Attempted anti-ballistic missile night intercept. The EKV failed to separate from the surrogate boost vehicle. The failure to separate was attributed to a quality control failure combined with shank and vibration loads on the EKV. As a result, corrective measures taken to fix the track gate anomaly found in previous tests could not be tested. GMD suspended intercept flight testing after IFT-10. IFT-11 and IFT-12 that employed the problematic surrogate booster were eliminated from the schedule.