A missile defense tool designed to destroy enemy threats was successfully tested at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The purpose of the data-gathering mission was to review the in-flight performance of the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle’s redesigned thrusters, an upgrade made to improve the vehicle’s control. For the test, a ballistic missile was launched, but the Missile Defense Agency chose not to intercept the missile so that the maneuverability of the Raytheon-manufactured EKV could be full examined.
“This was a remarkable data-collection opportunity,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems in a statement announcing the successful trial. “These are among our industry’s most complex systems. Testing is critically important to ensuring the advancement of reliable kill vehicles for the protection of the U.S. homeland.”
The U.S. military uses EKVs to destroy ballistic missiles sent by enemy forces while the threat is still in space. Raytheon describes this pursuit, which is supposed to end with the EKV colliding with the enemy missiles, as a “hit to kill” process. The EKV features a multi-color sensor to ensure that it pursues enemy threats and not another type of object. Existing EKVs that don’t feature the thruster upgrade are currently in use.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense