ATK to make device that draws missiles away from U.S. fighters

ATK to make device that draws missiles away from U.S. fighters

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — A new piece of technology that will draw missiles away from fighter aircraft like the F-35 and the F-22 will be overseen by Hill Air Force Base and manufactured just upstate at Promontory.

Orbital ATK recently announced it was awarded an “initial production” contract to begin producing the MJU-73/B — a pyrotechnic device that imitates the heat signature of U.S. aircraft in order to attract missiles to targets other than multimillion-dollar fighter jets.

Hillary Searle, a spokeswoman for Orbital ATK, said the technology — which is often referred to as an aircraft countermeasure — will be manufactured at the company’s Promontory-based Aerospace Systems site in Box Elder County.

Searle also said Hill will serve as the Air Force’s Special Programs Office for the new technology and will be responsible for technical guidance, acquisition and logistics on the device. 

In a press release, the aerospace company said the device is internally funded and developed. 

ATK program manager Jared Olson said the MJU-73/B is just the beginning for aircraft survivability innovation at the Northern Utah aerospace facility. He said the technology, which is designed to combat a large range of infrared missile threats, will serve as the precedent for other aircraft protection equipment currently being tested at ATK.

“Today (it’s) the best infrared countermeasure available,” Olson said in the press release. “But every day we try to push beyond what is possible. Our research and manufacturing capabilities will lead to even greater evolution and effectiveness to protect our nation’s warfighters and their aircraft.”

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