VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., June 23 (UPI) -- A long-range ballistic missile traveling in space was destroyed by a hit-to-kill interceptor missile Saturday in a test by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
The intercept was the ninth for the agency in testing Boeing's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system and the second consecutive intercept using Raytheon's enhanced Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, which incorporates new software and hardware modifications.
"This test marked the 35th successful space intercept for the Raytheon kill vehicle family, which includes both EKV and the Standard Missile-3 kill vehicles," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "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. and its allies."
Raytheon's EKV features an advanced multi-color sensor for detection and discrimination of warheads from other objects and its own propulsion, communications link, guidance and control system and computers.
In the test, the ballistic missile target was launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific and the interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Tracking and targeting data from sea- and space-based sensors were fed to the EKV, which maneuvered into the target's path.
Raytheon's EKV has already been deployed by the United States, which aims to have 44 interceptors by 2017.