On 30 May, Raytheon announced that its upgraded Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time in a test of the Bround-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. The kill marks the tenth intercept for the GMD programme, which aims to destroy incoming threats while they are still in space.
The missile target was launched from Kwajalein Atoll and the interceptor California. After receiving tracking and targeting data from sea and space-based sensors – including Raytheon’s sea-based X-band radar (SBX) and AN/TPY-2 radar – the EKV identified the threat, discriminated between the target and countermeasures, manoeuvred into the target's path and destroyed it using ‘hit-to-kill’ technology.
“This test keeps the US on track to increase its ground-based interceptor inventory to 44 in 2017,” Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, President of Raytheon Missile Systems, commented. “The system is among our industry's most complex, and its advancement ensures the protection of the US and its allies.”
Raytheon is simultaneously managing four kill vehicle programmes – the EKV, STANDARD Missile-3 kinetic vehicle, Redesigned Kill Vehicle and Multi-Object Kill Vehicle. The Raytheon kill vehicle family has a combined record of more than 40 successful space intercepts.