3. Weapons Directorate Technologies
The Weapons Directorate develops and demonstrates technologies required for kinetic energy weapons, directed energy weapons, structures, and materials and conducts lethality and vulnerability analysis of various threat objects.
The directorate has been highly successful in transitioning technology into the Army acquisition system through the Army PEO AMD, including the THAAD and PAC-3 programs. It also developed the cooperative U.S.-Israeli Arrow missile program for the PEOs management.
Kinetic energy weapons destroy incoming enemy targets with non-nuclear, direct hit-to-kill intercepts of strategic and tactical ballistic missiles in (endoatmospheric) and out (exoatmospheric) of the atmosphere. Key kinetic energy weapon projects include the following:
The U.S. Navy has selected the SSDC-managed LEAP (Lightweight Exo- Atmospheric Projectile) kill vehicle for use in its Upper Tier.
The Atmospheric Interceptor Technology (AIT) program will develop, integrate, and demonstrate high performance lightweight interceptor technology for hypersonic flight within the atmosphere.
The U.S. Armys Kinetic Energy Anti-Satellite (KE ASAT) program will provide the United States with the capability to interdict hostile satellites, preventing enemy space-based surveillance and targeting of U.S. battlefield assets.
The DAGGR (Depressed Altitude Guided Gun Round) program is developing a radar-guided, hit-to-kill projectile capable of fast, accurate, all-weather interdiction of point defense threats, such as air-to-ground missiles, short-range rockets, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles.
The Weapons Directorate is also pursuing high energy lasers to contribute to the development of space-, aircraft-, or ground-based weapons capable of killing boost and post-boost reentry vehicles, cruise missiles, and other airborne tactical targets.
The THEL (Tactical High Energy Laser) offers a cost effective, speed of light, continuous kill capability against multiple, low signature, maneuvering tactical threats. Anywhere it can track it can kill. High energy laser effectiveness tests have demonstrated significant capability against the evolving air threat, using realistic targets and timelines.
The Weapons Directorate conducts extensive lethality testing in order to provide real-time user support to weapon developers and missile defense architecture planners. They develop, validate, and maintain a systems-level lethality-prediction-criteria data base and conduct model, full-scale laboratory, sled, and flight tests. The scale model tests use light gas guns at Arnold Engineering Development Center, Naval Research Laboratory, University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the Army Research Laboratory. Hit-to-kill sled tests at Holloman Air Force Base, NM, provide full-scale test data against chemical, biological, high explosive, and simulated nuclear targets. Participation in flight tests at White Sands Missile Range, NM, allows evaluation of simulated bulk chemical and chemical submunition payload lethality for hit-to-kill intercepts.