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Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Destroys Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Target

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Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Destroys Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Target

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Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Destroys Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Target
Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Destroys Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Target

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and a Boeing-led industry team successfully intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile in space during the latest test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. The test validated GMD’s Capability Increment 6B configuration, which gives the Missile Defense Operators more time, space, and flexibility to intercept ballistic missile threats to the U.S. homeland. The system is deployed in military bases in the states of Alaska and California; in 2018 comprising 44 interceptors and spanning 15 time zones with sensors on land, at sea, and in orbit. In 2019, a missile defense review requested that 20 additional ground-based interceptors be based in Alaska. GMD is administered by the U.S. MDA, while the operational control and execution is provided by the U.S. Army, and support functions are provided by the U.S. Air Force.

This successful test is important because it opens up the window of opportunity to intercept threats to our homeland. We’re committed to continuously enhancing the GMD system’s capability to meet rapidly evolving missile defense needs for the nation,” said Debbie Barnett, vice president of Strategic Missile & Defense Systems.

Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Destroys Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Target
RTX interceptor successfully defeats ballistic missile target during today’s test of the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) System, marking the program’s 13th intercept. (Photo by RTX)

During the test, a GMD interceptor released a kinetic-force Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV, during the rocket booster’s second stage of its normally three-stage sequence of flight. The threat-representative target was air launched from the Broad Ocean Area and the interceptor was deployed from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.
The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) is the Raytheon-manufactured interceptor component with subcontractor Aerojet of the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD), part of the larger National Missile Defense system. The EKV is boosted to an intercept trajectory by a boost vehicle (missile), where it separates from the boost vehicle and autonomously collides with an incoming warhead. The EKV is launched by the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missile, the launch vehicle of the GMD system.

Boeing has supported the GMD program as lead system integrator since its inception in 1998 through development, test, operations and sustainment. The system has now been on alert for nearly two decades and is an integral part of America’s layered ballistic missile defense architecture. As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Destroys Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Target
An upgraded GMD Ground-Based Interceptor launches from Vandenberg Space Force Base (U.S. Missile Defense Agency photo).

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