Raytheon Company's upgraded Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle played a mission-critical role in a non-intercept flight test of Boeing's Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program. The EKV is a vital component of the GMD's Ground-Based Interceptor.
The EKV allows the GBI to lock on and eliminate high-speed ballistic missile warheads in space using nothing more than the force of impact.
"Rigorous non-intercept flight tests are important in proving the effectiveness and operational capability of ballistic missile defense weapons and their various components," says Wes Kremer, Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems. "[The] test allowed us to challenge the EKV in a series of realistic outer-space environments, which gives us a broad range of data prior to moving toward an intercept scenario."
During the test, the EKV performed as planned, maneuvering the interceptor to the appropriate altitude and closing velocity required for an intercept.
"The sole purpose of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program is to defend the homeland from the threat of ballistic missile attack," says Kremer. "This test moves us one step closer to an intercept flight test in 2013."