Double launch reflects real-world scenario
For the first time, the US Missile Defense Agency, in partnership with the Boeing-led industry team, tested two Raytheon Company Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles (EKV), which destroyed a threat representative intercontinental ballistic missile during a test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System, or GMD. One EKV intercepted the target and the other gathered test data in what is known as a "two-shot salvo" engagement.
The EKV system protects the US against long-range ballistic missile attacks by destroying incoming threats safely outside the Earth's atmosphere. The historic test mirrored a real-life scenario where launching more than one interceptor ensured destruction of the threat far away from population centers. If the first kill vehicle makes impact, the second can divert to other material.
"The system is among the most complex, and serves as the first line of ballistic missile defense for the United States," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president.
After receiving tracking and targeting data from Raytheon's Sea-Based X-band radar and AN/TPY-2 radar, the EKV identified the threat, discriminated between the target and countermeasures, maneuvered into the target's path and destroyed it using "hit-to-kill" technology. Both radars play critical roles in supporting the GMD system.
It was the eleventh intercept for the GMD program overall, and the second intercept of an ICBM. The Raytheon kill vehicle family has a combined record of over 40 successful space intercepts.