THE US MARINE CORPS has demonstrated an interim tactical-ballistic-missile (TBM) defence capability, using an in-service radar and air-defence missile.

Three Lance missiles were successfully detected and engaged during tests concluded in December at the White Sands Missile Range, Arizona. The interim anti-TBM system, includes an improved Lockheed Martin TPS-59 radar, which provides target information to the Expeditionary Air Defence System (EADS). The EADS includes the Raytheon Hawk missile with upgraded software and the Air-Defence Communications Platform, which links the long-range radar to the Hawk missile battery.

A Lance missile was successfully detected, tracked and destroyed in a test on 7 December 1995. Two were fired in a salvo on 8 December and one was destroyed.

There might have been a second kill, but range-safety officers destroyed the target before the interception because of a test glitch. The latter test was the first in which the US military had attempted a simultaneous engagement of two TBM targets with a single fire unit.

In addition to the interim solution to combating tactical ballistic missiles based on the Hawk, the USMC has expressed an interest in the international medium extended air-defence system, formerly known in the USA as the Corps surface-to-air missile.

Source: Flight International