FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) - One of the top military contractors in the country is at Fort Sill this week, sharing information on new technology at the annual FIRES Conference.
Lockheed Martin's Miniature Hit to Kill missile has been in the works since 2012. The missile is only about 2 and a half feet long, an inch and half wide and is just five pounds but could play a huge part in keeping our military members safe in the coming years.
The missiles would be set up a few kilometers away from troops or installations and would provide protection from rockets, mortars and UAVs.
"Once a mortar, a rocket or an artillery round are launched, there are radars around the battlefield that will pick up that launch and will track the target. That information is passed to a center that decides whether or not to engage that target," said Chris Murphy with Lockheed Martin.
If that center decides the threat is real, they will launch the missiles, which will then do the rest of the work on their own.
"The missile flies toward the indicated point that was based on the radar data. Then the missile will start looking for the target. It finds the target, guides to the target and intercepts based on the closing velocity. The impact will give us enough energy to get a kill on the target," Murphy said.
Murphy said historically, artillery is the leading cause of death on the battlefield, so it's important for them to find new, innovative ways for them to protect our troops from it.
"Having the ability to protect our troops or an installation from oncoming artillery gives us a chance to react to it, to go and either destroy the launchers shooting at us or to go engage the people shooting at us. But before that can be done, we have to stop the incoming fire. That's what miniature hit to kill allows us to do," Murphy said.
Murphy said they hope to have their missiles implemented by the U.S. Army by 2022. He said with this missile, they tried to take knowledge from the last 40-years-worth of hit-to-kill missile construction and couple it with the advanced technology we have today.
"We've taken the new technologies that didn't exist 15 years ago. If you had told someone you could have something this small, this kind of form factor that can go the range it can go and can destroy the things it can destroy? 15 years ago, they would have laughed at you," Murphy said.
Murphy said the size of the missile is a huge advantage for the Army. He said enemies don't usually just shoot one missile at a time, so with a smaller missile, they can have more on hand to shoot down more targets.