Hera target successfully supports PAC-3 developmental test

A Hera target system, developed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), successfully flew at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., in support of the PATRIOT Advanced Capability, or PAC-3, Developmental Test 3 (DT-3) flight test on September 16, 1999.

Hera is a tactical ballistic missile target typically used for test and evaluation of BMDO interceptor systems. The Hera target flown for this test was the Block IIC Hera configuration with a modified ballistic reentry vehicle with a submunition payload.

The Hera target was flown from Launch Complex 96 at Fort Wingate, N.M., reached an altitude of 92.5 kilometers and flew 350.1 kilometers down range in 406 seconds. The target missile flew a northwest to southeast trajectory to White Sands Missile Range to support an endoatmospheric observation of the separated Ballistic Reentry Vehicle (BRV) by the PAC-3 seeker. The target was launched on a 148-degree azimuth and allowed to coast for 100 seconds after first stage burnout to accommodate trajectory shaping and first-stage motor placement in the designated impact area. Following simultaneous first-stage separation and second-stage ignition, an energy management maneuver and a dogleg maneuver were performed to place the target complex on the final flight azimuth of 140 degrees. Following the second-stage thrust termination, the second-stage motor/guidance and control section were separated from the BRV to provide the desired conditions at the altitude of interest.

Prime contractor for the Hera targets program is Coleman Aerospace Company of Orlando, Fla., supported by principal subcontractors Space Vector Corporation of Fountain Valley, Calif., and Aerotherm Corporation of Mountain View, Calif. The Space and Missile Systems Center of the U.S. Air Force provides the booster motors.

At SMDC, the program is managed by Theater Targets Product Manager Lt. Col. James D. Matthewson, Jr., in the Ballistic Missile Targets Joint Project Office, headed by Col. James D. Cambron.