Right now, soldiers can’t do much once a rocket careens their way besides maneuvering and hoping for the best. But the Pentagon is trying — yet again — to give them something to shoot the thing right out of the sky.
Counter-rocket technologies have vexed the military in recent years, despite myriad efforts at developing an effective system. But the Pentagon’s giving yet another rocket-destroying system a try. This one’s called the Accelerated Improved Intercept System, or AI3. Earlier this week, the Army awarded manufacturer Raytheon a $79.2 million contract to develop the apparatus. And the Pentagon wants the job done fast: They’re hoping to test the device in a mere 18 months.
To hasten the process, Raytheon will rely mostly on preexisting technology, including a launcher and a control system being provided by the military. There’s no indication it’s doing anything super-ambitious, like incorporating rival Artis’ white-knuckle Iron Curtain system, which waits until the last moment before a rocket hits a truck to fire a missile downward at a 90-degree angle. Raytheon will basically develop a new interceptor missile for AI3.