24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, Raytheon’s Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) stands ready to defend the United States against intercontinental ballistic missiles as a mission-critical component of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD).
Flight test of a Ground-Based Interceptor carrying a Raytheon exoatmospheric kill vehicle at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
(Jan. 26, 2013 - Missile Defense Agency Photo)
If a threat is detected using one of GMD’s multiple land, sea- and space-based sensors, a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) will be launched into space using a three-stage solid rocket booster. Once outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, operating at the edge of space at hypersonic speeds, the EKV’s job begins.
The EKV seeks out the target using multi-color sensors, a cutting-edge onboard computer, and a rocket motor used only for steering in space. It hones in on its target, and with pinpoint precision, destroys it using nothing more than the force of a massive collision. No traditional warhead needed.
The Missile Defense Agency successfully conducted a flight test of a three-stage Ground-Based Interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. on January 26, 2013.