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A critical test

Raytheon kill vehicle succeeds in first intercept of intercontinental ballistic missile

An interceptor carrying a Raytheon-built Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The kill vehicle intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean in a Missile Defense Agency test. (Photo: Missile Defense Agency) <a onClick="ga('send', 'event', 'links', 'click', 'Download high-resolution photo');" href="http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/rtnwcm/groups/public/documents/image/kv_pic13_lg.jpg" target="_blank">(Download high-resolution photo)</a>

A Raytheon upgraded Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV, a kinetic-force weapon that slams into its targets, destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time during a Missile Defense Agency test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

It was the tenth intercept for the GMD program, which is designed to protect the U.S. against long-range ballistic missile attacks by destroying incoming threats while they are still in space, safely outside the Earth's atmosphere.

"This test keeps the United States on track to increase its ground-based interceptor inventory to 44 in 2017," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "The system is among our industry's most complex, and its advancement ensures the protection of the U.S. and its allies."

EKV destroys ICBM targetPlay Video

Raytheon kill vehicle destroys intercontinental ballistic missile target (Video: Missile Defense Agency)

The ICBM range target was launched from the Reagan Test site on Kwajalein Atoll, and the interceptor was fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. After receiving tracking and targeting data from sea and space-based sensors, 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.

The testing was supported by Raytheon's sea-based X-band radar (SBX) and AN/TPY-2 radar. Both play critical roles in supporting the GMD system.

A world leader in kill vehicle design and production, Raytheon is simultaneously managing four kill vehicle programs – the EKV, SM-3® interceptor, Redesigned Kill Vehicle and Multi-Object Kill Vehicle. The Raytheon kill vehicle family has a combined record of more than 40 successful space intercepts.

Published: 05/30/2017

Last Updated: 06/01/2017

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