Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle (ARAV)

ARAVKratos is a Key Member on Acquisition Award Winning Team

Missile defense has been an ongoing priority in the US Government’s efforts to increase 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 systems such as the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system. To that goal, the Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle (ARAV) Team builds, integrates, and launches ballistic missile targets to test the capability of the Aegis weapons system. Kratos is a leading member of the ARAV team, producing a wide range of target components including nose tips and solid propellant rocket motors, and providing safety and launch support.

In a world of shrinking budgets, even for priority programs, the US government and its industry partners are increasingly looking for creative ways to achieve their desired goals while avoiding cost overruns. The US Navy's ballistic missile defense program had a requirement for a low cost ballistic missile target system to enable them 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 ARAV team adapted lessons learned from its significant sounding rocket experience to provide a variety of low-cost, reliable solutions. The implementation of a design approach stressing the maximum reuse of assets and procedures is a key element of the ARAV acquisition strategy that ensures that target vehicles are relatively inexpensive, highly responsive and are, to a large extent, already flight proven in terms of the qualification of hardware and procedures. The resultant ARAV targets are up to 85% less costly than the targets that they replace.

The ARAV team responded to a challenge from senior Missile Defense Agency (MDA) leadership to develop a new vehicle for the ARAV family in response to an urgent need for targets that could emulate the most sophisticated preponderant threats. The ARAV team responded with a design within four months and a first flight within 18 months.  The resulting ARAV-C target was delivered ahead of an aggressive schedule at a cost of approximately $13 million. When 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 achievement helped the ARAV team to be recognized by the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Ashton Carter, as the winner of the Department of Defense David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award.

Kratos provides the threat-simulating target nose tips and structural, electronic and aerodynamic hardware for the ARAV-A, ARAV-B, ARAV-C and ARAV-TTOE target configurations. The Oriole rocket system supplied by Kratos  provides the sustain phase propulsion elements for the ARAV-B and ARAV-TTOE targets  Kratos is currently working with the ARAV team to complete development of the ARAV-G target vehicle incorporating the guided Oriole rocket system. To date there have been over 50 successful ARAV launches.

Related Solutions

Range, Target & Flight Operations
Kratos provides all technical and logistics support for the operations of ranges and target prelaunch, launch, and post-flight.