Encyclopedia Astronautica
HEDI


American anti-ballistic missile. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x X-265 + 1 x X-271

The U.S. Army's HEDI (High Endoatmospheric Defense Interceptor) was an SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) program for a lower-tier ballistic missile defense, a complement to the ERIS (Exoatmospheric Reentry Interceptor Subsystem) upper-tier system. Technology for an endoatmospheric hit-to-kill missile interceptor was tested by KITE (Kinetic Kill Vehicle Integrated Technology Experiment) test vehicles as part of the HEDI program. KITE was a rail-launched two-stage test vehicle using surplus Sprint ABM motors (Hercules X-265 and a Hercules X-271). A KKV (Kinetic Kill Vehicle) fitted with an infrared seeker, was protected under a shroud during the initial high-speed 200G acceleration through the lower atmosphere.

KITE-1 on 26 January 1990 was followed by the failed KITE-2 on 23 September 1991 and the final KITE-2A on 26 August 1992. The operational HEDI program had been cancelled in 1992, but the KITE flights tested various system components like seeker, guidance and control systems. No actual intercepts were attempted.

Failures: 1. Success Rate: 66.67%. First Fail Date: 1991-09-23. Last Fail Date: 1991-09-23. Launch data is: complete.

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

McDonnell-Douglas HEDI

The U.S. Army's HEDI (High Endoatmospheric Defense Interceptor) was an SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) program for a lower-tier ballistic missile defense. As such it was to complement to ERIS (Exoatmospheric Reentry Interceptor Subsystem) upper-tier system.

No true HEDI missiles were built, but technology for an endoatmospheric hit-to-kill missile interceptor was tested by KITE (Kinetic Kill Vehicle Integrated Technology Experiment) test vehicles as part of the HEDI program. KITE was a rail-launched missile based on the older Sprint nuclear-armed ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile). It was a two-stage solid-fueled rocket, powered by a Hercules X-265 and a Hercules X-271 motor. The KKV (Kinetic Kill Vehicle) was fitted with an infrared seeker, which was protected behind a shroud during the initial high-speed flight through the lower atmosphere. The KITE achieved an acceleration of over 200 G immediately after launch.

The first KITE test flight ("KITE-1") on 26 January 1990 was followed by a failed launch ("KITE-2") on 23 September 1991 and the second and last flight ("KITE-2A") on 26 August 1992. The operational HEDI program had been cancelled in 1992, but the KITE flights tested various system components like seeker, guidance and control systems. However, no actual intercepts were attempted.

Specifications

I have no data about the exact physical characteristics of the KITE test vehicle or the planned HEDI operational missile.

Main Sources

[1] Army Strategic Defense Command memorandum about "KITE-2A" test, 26 August 1992
[2] Gunter Krebs: Gunter's Space Page


Status: Retired 1992.
Gross mass: 3,500 kg (7,700 lb).
Height: 8.20 m (26.90 ft).
Diameter: 1.37 m (4.49 ft).
Thrust: 3,000.00 kN (674,400 lbf).
Apogee: 15 km (9 mi).
First Launch: 1990.01.26.
Last Launch: 1992.08.26.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Parsch, Andreas, DesignationSystems.Net, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • White Sands White Sands Missile Range occupies an area 160 x 65 km in the Tularosa Basin of southern New Mexico, across the Sacramento Mountain range from Roswell. In the 1930's, Robert Goddard, after surveying weather conditions and population densities, had selected Roswell for his pioneering rocket tests. White Sands, a true desert area, was even more unpopulated than Roswell. German advances in rocketry during World War II impelled the US Army to begin programs to exploit this technology. The White Sands Proving Ground was established for testing German and American long-range rockets on 9 July 1945. Seven days later the first atomic bomb was exploded at Trinity Site, near the north boundary of the range. The first launch of a Tiny Tim rocket was on 26 September 1945. On 11 October a Tiny Tim boosted a WAC Corporal rocket from the tower. This was the first use of Launch Complex 33, later to be used for V-2, Nike, Viking, Corporal, Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket System testing. More...
  • White Sands LC37 Squirt, HEDI launch complex. LC 37 (Army Launch Area Three) was the main test complex for the Nike Ajax and Nike Hercules surface-to-air missiles. Later additions were used for HIBEX and HEDI KITE launches, and as the Army's Advanced Gun Munitions Test Site. More...

Associated Stages

HEDI Chronology


1990 January 26 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC37. Launch Vehicle: HEDI.
  • KITE-1 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: SDIO. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1991 September 23 - . 15:40 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC37. Launch Vehicle: HEDI. FAILURE: Failure.
  • KITE-2 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: SDIO. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1992 August 26 - . 14:31 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC37. Launch Vehicle: HEDI.
  • KITE-2A test - . Nation: USA. Agency: SDIO. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi).

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