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Kinetic Energy Interceptors Team Delivers Pathfinder Ground Test Missile Avionics

TUCSON, Ariz., April 1, 2009 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company , a member of the Northrop Grumman-led Kinetic Energy Interceptors team, delivered the Pathfinder ground test missile avionics module and associated support equipment to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The delivery is a key milestone in the 2009 KEI booster flight test preparation because it brings together all the major Pathfinder hardware, software and support equipment needed to verify test range preparation, integration and test processes.

Orbital Sciences Corporation , a principal subcontractor to Raytheon, designed and built the avionics module and nosecone structure. The equipment will be integrated into a Pathfinder ground test missile to verify integration and flight test operations. The operations include missile integration at the KEI vehicle assembly building, transfer to the launch pad via a transporter-erector and a simulated launch.

"The delivery of this avionics hardware and support equipment keeps us on track for our planned flight test this year," said Chuck Ross, Raytheon Missile Systems KEI vice president. "Leveraging test-like-you-fly methodology with the Pathfinder ground test missile is a key factor in achieving mission success."

Orbital Sciences supported a successful KEI Stage 1 motor test firing in November 2008 at Alliant Techsystems (ATK) facilities in Promontory, Utah. Orbital provided a thrust vector actuator and control system.

KEI is designed to be a globally deployable, mobile missile defense system. It includes a multiple kill vehicle carried by a quickly accelerating and highly maneuverable interceptor. This integrated weapon system provides an effective early engagement capability to destroy medium, intermediate and intercontinental ballistic-range missiles.

Northrop Grumman leads the team charged with developing and testing a KEI capability for the Missile Defense Agency. Raytheon heads the program's interceptor development work. Orbital Sciences will integrate the booster and prepare range operations for the 2009 flight, and ATK is responsible for performing first- and second-stage rocket motor development work.

Orbital is one of the world's leading space technology companies, specializing in the development and operation of smaller-size satellite and launch systems. The company employs more than 3,600 people in 10 states and generates over $1.1 billion in annual revenues.

Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

    John Patterson

SOURCE: Raytheon Company

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