by Richard Tomkins
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (UPI) Jan 29, 2016
A data-gathering flight test of a Raytheon Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency has validated the missile's redesigned thruster components.
The test, which did not involve striking a target, proved the effectiveness of a recent redesign of EKV thrusters, which provide the control necessary for lethal impact with incoming ballistic missile threats while outside of the Earth's atmosphere.
"This was a remarkable data-collection opportunity," Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems, said in a statement. "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 weapon features a multi-color sensor to detect incoming warheads in space; its own propulsion and communications link, discrimination algorithms, guidance and control system and computers to support target selection and target interception.
The EKV is the intercept component of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.
Raytheon is currently managing four hit-to-kill missile programs: the EKV, Standard Missile-3 kinetic vehicle, the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, and Multi-Object Kill Vehicle.
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