Fox News on January 29, 2013 reported that the Missile Defense Agency quietly tested a “kill vehicle” successfully showing that the nation’s first line of defense can block the threat of ballistic missiles. Excerpts below from Allison Barrie:
At hypersonic speeds, the Raytheon-made warhead — a 120-pound spacecraft that has been described as “a telescope mounted on a pack of propane cylinders” — operates at the edge of space to seek out and ram into threats, ultimately destroying them.
On the afternoon of January 26, the Agency successful launched and tested the craft, which they call an Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle or EKV, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It’s a key element of Boeing’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, which acts as the nation’s shield.
GMD is the first and only operationally deployed missile defense program to defend against long-range ballistic missile attacks, such as inbound ICBMs.
And that shield is apparently sturdy.
Instead of using a traditional warhead, EKV destroys the threat by colliding with it using only the force of impact — a process known as “hit-to-kill.”
The EKV has already had eight successful intercepts throughout the life of the program.
Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.