A top Marine Corps official said the service is ready to procure the Medium-Range Intercept Capability (MRIC), which incorporates components of Israel’s Iron Dome System, following two successful live fire tests with a prototype of the capability.
Gen. Eric Smith, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said this week the Marine Corps held off on funding procurement of MRIC for two years until it could prove out the capability, adding the successful demonstrations have now shown the system’s effectiveness.
“High mobility, lightweight and much longer range, and the MRIC, the Medium Range Intercept Capability, provided that to us. And we just proved it and tested it and now we’re going to start moving out to procure that system,” Smith said during a discussion with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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.
“We needed a longer-range air defense capability to be able to cover these highly mobile units and we asked for a wicked solution to a wicked problem,” Smith said. “It is the thing that was most needed to complete the toolkit that our commanders in the Marine littoral regiments will need to be most effective on the modern battlefield and I’m pretty excited about it.”
Earlier this month, the Marine Corps announced it conducted a second successful live fire test with MRIC on June 30 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico where the system successfully took out several simultaneously-launched cruise missile surrogate targets (Defense Daily, July 8).
The latest test was intended to validate MRIC’s primary subsystems’ integration and systems’ overall capability, according to the Marine Corps.
Smith said the June 30 test involved using drones as the cruise missile surrogates, with MRIC successfully engaging the targets on three out of three attempts.
“We actually were against moving drones. We actually were set up to go four [times] but the drone that we were shooting broke so we didn’t have any to kill with the fourth shot. So we went three for three instead of four for four,” Smith said.
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.”