Missile defense was mentioned again in the 2011 State of the Union as a priority to continuing increased cooperation with our European allies. The President has stated numerous times that the defense of our allies and ultimately ourselves lies in our ability to meet advanced threats with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). To that goal, the Aegis BMD Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle (ARAV) Team builds, integrates, and launches ballistic missile targets to test the capability of the weapons system. Kratos is a member of the ARAV team, producing target nose tips and one of the family of target rockets, and providing launch support.
In a world of shrinking budgets, even for priority programs, the government and its industry partners must look for creative ways to achieve the desired end state without cost overruns. The Navy's ballistic missile defense program had a need for a low cost sounding rocket 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. In order to reduce costs, the implementation of maximum reuse of assets and procedures has been a key component of the ARAV acquisition strategy, ensuring relatively inexpensive, highly responsive vehicles that are, to a large extent, already flight proven in terms of the qualification of hardware and procedures. The resultant ARAV-A and ARAV-B targets are over 85% less costly than the targets they replaced.
In 2008, the ARAV team responded to a challenge from senior Missile Defense Agency (MDA) leadership to develop an additional member of the ARAV family, the ARAV-C, in response to an urgent need for targets that emulate the most sophisticated preponderant threats. The ARAV Team responded with a design within four months and a first flight within 18 months. The ARAV-C target was delivered ahead of even the most aggressive schedule -- and cost approximately $13 million. Compared to the only other proposed alternative, which was expected to cost $36 million, the ARAV-C was a spectacular example of acquisition excellence. This helped the team get recognized by the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Ashton Carter, as the winner of the Department of Defense 2010 David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award.
Kratos provides the threat-simulating target nose tips for the ARAV-A, ARAV-B and ARAV-C target configurations, the Oriole rocket system which is part of the ARAV-B target, and electronic and aerodynamic hardware used on the ARAV-C booster. To date there have been a total of 16 ARAV-A launches, 14 ARAV-B launches and one ARAV-C launch, all of which have been successful.