US defense and aviation company Lockheed Martin presented its Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor concept, which is part of the US Army’s Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) program, for the defense of vital installations and positions from incoming aerial projectiles.The MHTK is meant to intercept a variety of targets that include rockets, artillery, mortar (C-RAM or Counter Rockets, Artillery and Mortar), as well as, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). In battlefield and border environments, mortar fire can cause the highest number of casualties, being more common than other area weapons, like on the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB).
Christopher R. Jackson, Manager of International Business Development for the MHTK system for Lockheed Martin spoke to StratPost about it and according to him, while other systems rely on the explosive force of internally carried ordnance and proximity blasts to take out aerial threats, the MHTK carries no ordnance at all and relies only on the accuracy of its targeting system, the speed of the rocket motor and the mass of the interceptor.
He said that while other systems create two to three mJ (mega Joules) of energy the Mini Hit-to-Kill generates 200 to 300 mJ of kinetic energy through its sheer momentum.
With a length of 71 centimeters, diameter of less than 50 millimeters and a mass of less than 3 kilograms, each MHTK system can protect an area with a radius of 2-3 sq kilometers and a range of 3-4 kilometers. With an NLOS (Non Line of Sight) launcher with a capacity of 135 rounds, incoming projectiles are spotted and tracked by a ground-based Fire Control Sensor radar and then illuminated by a Target Acquisition Radar (TAR). Meanwhile the MHTK interceptors with semi-active seekers are vertically launched from the NLOS launcher and home in on the illumination reflected from the projectile and destroy it by force of impact.
Jackson said that while they’ve ‘done some test shots’ on ‘test bed radars’, Lockheed Martin is looking for international partners for the project and Jackson thinks the development of the MHTK could be a good fit for the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, in addition to a solution for protection against mortars and other projectiles for Indian personnel.