Kratos receives $11M for additional Oriole rocket motor systems

Kratos Space and Missile Defense Systems Inc. is being awarded a contract modification for the procurement of additional Oriole rocket motor systems.

The firm-fixed-price modification, worth around $11 million, was awarded by U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) located in Port Hueneme, California. Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation (other defense agencies); fiscal 2010 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); and foreign military sales (other defense agencies) funding will be obligated at time of award.

This modification is for the procurement of additional Oriole rocket motors and hardware that will be used as sub-orbital vehicles known as Aegis readiness assessment vehicles (ARAV).

Work will be performed in Rocket City, West Virginia (75 percent); and Glen Burnie, Maryland (25 percent), and is expected to be completed by January 2020.

Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle (ARAV)

The ARAV, a product of the NSWC PHD White Sands Detachment, is a solid-fuel rocket-based target vehicle that emulates ballistic missile threats.

ARAV is used as a low cost ballistic missile target system by the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile defense program to enable them to conduct live ballistic missile defense tracking events to verify Aegis computer program installation, to demonstrate ships’ crews’ proficiency to conduct BMD planning and operations, and to conduct strategic and theater command and control architecture exercises.

The ARAV targets are up to 85% less costly than the targets that they replace.

Kratos provides the threat-simulating target nose tips and structural, electronic and aerodynamic hardware for the ARAV-A, ARAV-B, ARAV-C and ARAV-TTOE target configurations. The Oriole rocket system supplied by Kratos  provides the sustain phase propulsion elements for the ARAV-B and ARAV-TTOE targets  Kratos is currently working with the ARAV team to complete development of the ARAV-G target vehicle incorporating the guided Oriole rocket system. To date there have been over 50 successful ARAV launches.

Oriole Booster Motor

Orbital ​ATK and KRATOS Defense Rocket Support Services (formerly DTI Associates) jointly developed the Oriole booster as a next-generation sounding rocket for launching scientific and commercial payloads. It was developed primarily for use as a sounding rocket for NASA.

The Oriole provides several minutes of useful microgravity environment for payloads at low cost without entering Earth orbit. In flight testing, the Oriole achieved a maximum altitude of 229 miles (368.5 kilometers) and a maximum range of 330 miles (531 km). Its features include qualified reduced-smoke propellant, a graphite/epoxy resin composite case with aluminum and titanium parts, and a Kevlar composite external heat shield.

Orbital ATK began development of the booster in November 1998 under contract to KRATOS. The Oriole progressed through a development and demonstration program that culminated in a successful static test at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory facility on April 20, 2000. The Oriole was then successfully flight tested from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia on July 7, 2000.

More than 50 Oriole boosters have been manufactured through 2013.

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