Lockheed Martin Marks Missile Defense Milestones


Lockheed Martin and its U.S. Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army customers, mark two major milestones in the history of missile defense technology on June 10.

On this date in 1984, the Army’s innovative Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE) vehicle, developed by Lockheed Martin, accomplished what many thought could not be done. It intercepted a ballistic missile target outside of the atmosphere using sheer force of impact without explosive warheads. It proved the viability of “hit-to-kill” technology to destroy a missile in flight, pioneering today’s life-saving missile defense technology. 

More hit-to-kill technology success followed, including the Missile Defense Agency’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense’s (THAAD’s) first intercept on the same date in 1999. The Lockheed Martin-developed THAAD hit a ballistic missile target over White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, 15 years after HOE’s breakthrough.

“While luck placed these intercept anniversaries on the same day, it had no part in these accomplishments,” said Tory Bruno, president, Strategic & Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “They took innovation, expertise and determination.”

“Lockheed Martin has been proving that hit-to-kill technology works for decades,” said Mike Trotsky, vice president, Air & Missile Defense, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Pure kinetic energy interceptors, such as THAAD and PAC-3, are the only proven way to defeat the most challenging threats facing the warfighter today and tomorrow.”

Since the 1980s, the technology débuted by the Homing Overlay Experiment has been proven in more than 80 successful intercepts in combat and testing. That includes 11 intercepts in 11 attempts since 2005 by the THAAD development program since 2005. 

In addition to THAAD, which was deployed internationally for the first time in 2013 by the U.S. Army to Guam, systems using hit-to-kill technology today include the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile and the Ground-based Midcourse Defense systems, as well as the Medium Extended Air Defense System developed by the United States, Germany and Italy.







June 10, 2014

HOE A Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE) vehicle lifted off from Kwajalein Missile Range in the Republic of the Marshall Islands June 10, 1984, achieving the world’s first hit-to-kill intercept. A HOE vehicle with its net of “homing” spokes unfurled is on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

THAAD THAAD achieved its first intercept in its tenth flight test June 10, 1999. A corkscrew-like energy management steering maneuver reduced the missile’s speed for safety constraints at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.