MAGNA, Utah and RESTON, Va., July 27, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) team for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program has selected Alliant Techsystem's (NYSE:ATK) Utah manufacturing site to perform the critical solid-propellant manufacturing process for the KEI Stage 1 motor. This move will reduce risk for this critically important stage and optimize the interceptor's ability to perform its mission.
Raytheon, who leads the interceptor development, and its subcontractor ATK, conducted an extensive survey of ATK's solid-rocket motor operations and jointly determined that the ATK Thiokol facility in Magna, Utah afforded the highest mission assurance possible for this critically important stage. In addition to a work force that's experienced in building large motors similar in size to the KEI Stage 1 for our nation's deterrent force, ATK Thiokol offers a state-of-the art solid-propellant loading facility that has successfully loaded propellant in more than 2,000 motors with similar features to KEI Stage 1. The solid-propellant manufacturing process is a very complex set of operations that involves mixing, casting and curing the propellant.
"We are constantly looking for ways to promote mission assurance and risk reduction, so I commend Raytheon and ATK's initiative to identify the most experienced location for this work," said Craig Staresinich, vice president and general manager of the kinetic energy interceptors program for Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector. "Moves such as these will ensure that attention is given, every step of the way, to deliver a quality product that meets the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's objectives of a mobile, multi-use and strategically flexible system."
KEI is a mobile, land-based missile-defense system that, when deployed, will be able to destroy a hostile threat during its boost and ascent phase of flight.
The Stage 1 motor is a large motor that initially thrusts the missile to extremely high velocities in a short period of time to fulfill KEI's mission of engaging a target during boost and ascent phase -- or within the first 250 seconds of the target's ballistic flight.
In addition to Stage 1, ATK is responsible for the Stage 2 motor-development work at its facility in Elkton, Md. Much smaller in size than Stage 1, the Stage 2 motor fits well with ATK's experience base at Elkton, where the Northrop Grumman team is currently preparing for a Stage 2 motor-firing test during the third quarter of 2005. A Stage 1 motor-firing test will follow in the second quarter of 2006 at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., to demonstrate proof-of-concept for the KEI missile.
"ATK's world-class workforce and production facilities have long formed the backbone of missile defense for our nation's armed forces," said Kevin Cummings, executive vice president, ATK Thiokol. "We are proud to continue that tradition by providing the solid-rocket propulsion system for KEI."
Northrop Grumman is leading a team charged with developing and testing a Kinetic Energy Interceptors boost/ascent phase capability for the global layered ballistic missile defense system, under contract to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va., is a global integrator of complex, mission-enabling systems and services for defense, intelligence and civil government markets. The sector's technology leadership and expertise spans areas such as strategic systems, including ICBMs; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; command and control; and technical services and training.
CONTACT: Marynoele Benson Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (703) 741-7723 firstname.lastname@example.org