The Marine Corps announced Friday it recently conducted a live fire test of its Medium-Range Intercept Capability (MRIC) prototype where the system successfully took out several simultaneously-launched cruise missile surrogate targets.
The latest prototype test on June 30 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was intended to validate MRIC’s primary subsystems’ integration and systems’ overall capability, according to the Marine Corps, as officials gather data to inform the eventual path forward for the program.
“This demonstration proves that we do now have a relevant capability,” Don Kelley, program manager for ground-based air defense for the Marine Corps’ program executive officer (PEO) Land Systems, said in a statement.
The MRIC prototype involves integrating the Marine Corps’ current Northrop Grumman [NOC]-built Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) and Common Aviation Command and Control System (CA2CS) with Israel’s Iron Dome mini-Battle Management Control components and Tamir interceptor missile.
“During the test, the G/ATOR successfully tracked each target, from immediately after launch and passed the tracks through the CAC2S to the Israeli Iron Dome components,” the Marine Corps wrote. “This allowed the MRIC system to simultaneously neutralize multiple missiles encircling the system from various angles. At its peak, numerous in-air targets, each with its own unique flight trajectory and velocity, surrounded the MRIC prototype. Upon firing, MRIC successfully hit each target using the Tamir missile.”
June’s live fire test followed a successful demonstration with MRIC in December where the system engaged targets shot in sequence, whereas the latest event featured targets fired simultaneously (Defense Daily, Dec. 21).
A third live fire test is slated for later this year, according to the Marine Corps, which said it will run MRIC against “an even increased threat capability.”
“Following the final live-fire event, Marine Corps leadership will decide the program’s future, including which Marines will ultimately use the system and the requisite training needed to operate the brand-new capability,” the Marine Corps wrote in a statement.
The Marine Corps noted the MRIC program was designed to take proven components and integrate them together, using Middle Tier Acquisition authorities, into a system capable of seamless capability with existing architectures to get after a rapid development and demonstration cycle.
“Our goal was to get this prototype into a deployable state that meets our current needs but have it so other systems can be ‘plugged in’ to it to make it more lethal while maintaining expeditionary capability, mobility, and the ability to rapidly set up and be operational at any site, anytime,” Maj. James Slocum, MRIC Medium Range Intercept Capability team lead at PEO Land Systems, said in a statement.