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Aerojet Rocketdyne Coleman Aerospace Completes Key Test in Support of MDA Medium Range Ballistic Missile Target Program

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

Aerojet Rocketdyne Coleman Aerospace Completes Key Test in Support of MDA Medium Range Ballistic Missile Target Program


  • Iron Bird mission successfully tests target missile simulator air launch extraction and descent system
  • Testing validated newly designed lightweight parachute cluster
  • Data collected will help optimize design parameters and anchor analysis models


YUMA PROVING GROUND, YUMA, Ariz., April 30, 2019 – Aerojet Rocketdyne Coleman Aerospace, Inc. announced that it recently completed a successful test, known as the Iron Bird Mission, of an air launch extraction and descent system as part of a contract to provide a new Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) target for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA).


“Providing reliable and affordable targets to validate the effectiveness of our nation’s missile defense systems is a tremendous responsibility that our Coleman Aerospace team takes very seriously,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “Successfully completing the Iron Bird mission is a major milestone for the MRBM development program. The knowledge gained during this pathfinder effort will further validate the design, processes, equipment and facilities required to support future MRBM target missions.”


The Iron Bird mission validated the air launch extraction and descent system by deploying the system from a C-17 aircraft. A representative missile simulator was deployed on an instrumented Carriage Extraction System (CES) utilizing a newly designed Poly-Conical, Lightweight, Enhanced, Ringslot (PLER II) parachute cluster.


The system successfully demonstrated the extraction and main parachute system, including clean release of the missile simulator from the CES. Critical performance and loads data was also collected to anchor analysis and simulation products for current and future MRBM configurations.


Aerojet Rocketdyne Coleman Aerospace was awarded a contract to provide a new MRBM target by the MDA in October 2013. In addition to the actual target vehicle, the company is providing integrated logistics support, including inventory storage and maintenance, pre- and post-mission analysis, launch preparation, launch execution and engineering services.


About Aerojet Rocketdyne: Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion systems and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, and tactical systems areas, in support of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit and Follow Aerojet Rocketdyne and CEO Eileen Drake on Twitter at @AerojetRdyne and @DrakeEileen.


Media Contacts:

Todd McConnell, Aerojet Rocketdyne, 561-882-5395

[email protected]

Bill Bigelow, Aerojet Rocketdyne, 256-971-2661

[email protected]

Tuesday, April 30, 2019