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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Propulsion System Successfully Hovers Missile Defense Payload


CANOGA PARK, Calif. – In its first-ever controlled-flight test, a new generation kinetic missile payload designed for the Missile Defense Agency successfully fired, hovered and maneuvered for 20 seconds under the power of a propulsion system developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.

The Multiple Kill Vehicle-L (MKV-L) free-flight hover test was conducted Dec. 2 by the Missile Defense Agency and MKV-L prime contractor Lockheed Martin at the National Hover Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The successful test puts the United States closer to having a missile defense system that can intercept multiple incoming ballistic missiles and countermeasures. During its controlled flight, the MKV-L hovered inside the National Hover Test Facility. At the conclusion of the test, the propulsion system was deactivated, and the unit dropped into a recovery net. The test was performed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

“The hover test is a major milestone toward giving the United States volume-interceptor capability within the Ballistic Missile Defense System,” said Art Weiss, director, Attitude Control Propulsion Systems, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

The high-precision, quick-reaction propulsion system is designed to position the MKV-L to intercept incoming ballistic missiles and countermeasures. In the event of an enemy missile launch, an MKV is boosted into the outer atmosphere carrying a bandolier of kill vehicles. The propulsion system maneuvers the MKV-L into the path of the inbound enemy missile. The MKV-L receives tracking data from the Ballistic Missile Defense System, and dispenses and guides the smaller units to destroy the missile and any countermeasures deployed to disrupt U.S. defenses.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.


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