Supporting Efforts

Targets and Countermeasures


Targets and Countermeasures Fact Sheet (PDF*)

Target launch from FTG03, a Ground-based Midcourse Defense flight test. The Targets and Countermeasures (TC) program develops quality, threat representative, and cost effective target solutions that enable the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) to test system performance and demonstrate its effectiveness in threat relevant environments.


  • TC oversees the design, development, manufacture, integration, and delivery of threat-representative, reliable, and cost-effective ballistic missile targets and countermeasures for the BMDS.
  • Target quality, reliability, and affordability have continued to be fundamental initiatives as the complexity and pace of threat development and missile defense testing increases.
  • Since 2000, TC has delivered 162 targets in support of BMDS testing with a 100% success rate since 2010, 36 of 36 successful targets.


Target systems include launch vehicles, payloads (including surrogate re-entry vehicles and countermeasures), launch support equipment, extensive instrumentation, and flight control stations.

  • Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) (up to 1000km): The SRBM Target class is made up of Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle (ARAV) -A, -B, and -C, Foreign Material Asset (FMA) -1 and -2, and the Short Range Air-Launched Target (SRALT). Other variances of ARAV targets are also being developed and used such as ARAV-TTO-B.
  • Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM) (1000-3000km): The MRBM Type 1 and Type 2 targets are of the same design where the Type 1 provides a simple 1000-2000 km target. Type 2 provides a 2000-3000 km range target and the ability to create a more complex scene for BMDS testing. The Type 3 is a specialty target in this range class and is designed to replicate a specific threat. In addition to MRBM Type 1-3, the Agency has older MRBM targets within their portfolio including the Extended MRBM (eMRBM) and the Extended Long Range Air-Launched Target (eLRALT).  TC is utilizing greater capability ARAVs, such as the ARAV-TTO-E to meet some of the Medium Range requirements at a lower cost.
  • Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM) and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) Intermediate (3000-4500km) and Intercontinental (>4500km): There are two types of IRBMs; one is a two-stage, ground or air launched and the other is the Launch Vehicle – 2 (LV-2), a two-stage, ground launched target, which is completing its final planned mission in 3QFY14.  The ICBM is a ground-launched three-stage target with the first launch scheduled for FY16. 
  • Common Components: Develops common, cost-effective family of Modified Ballistic Re-Entry Vehicles (MBRV), and countermeasures (CM) solutions with systematic rigor leading to delivery of timely, quality products in support of the TC family of Launch Vehicles for BMDS Testing.  MBRVs include MBRV-1, MBRV-2, MBRV-5, MBRV-7, and MBRV-8.


The role of the Targets and Countermeasures Program is to develop and provide threat-representative targets for BMDS testing. With an increased focus on leveraging industry’s existing products and developments for Targets and Countermeasures, the MDA will draw on the currently available and future technologies to emulate the threat both reliably and affordably.