VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Raytheon's new enhanced Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle demonstrated its capability in a recent non-intercept homeland missile defense test.
In the test Saturday, the EKV maneuvered the Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptor to the appropriate altitude and closing velocity to destroy the incoming ballistic missile.
"Rigorous non-intercept flight tests are important in proving the effectiveness and operational capability of ballistic missile defense weapons and their various components," said Wes Kremer, Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems.
"Today's test allowed us to challenge the EKV in a series of realistic outer-space environments, which gives us a broad range of data prior to moving toward an intercept scenario.
"The sole purpose of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program is to defend the homeland from the threat of ballistic missile attack. This test moves us one step closer to an intercept flight test in 2013."
The EKV is designed to destroy an incoming ballistic missile by directly colliding with it. It employs multicolor sensors to detect and discriminate incoming warheads from other objects; has its own propulsion, communications link, discrimination algorithms, guidance and control systems.
An intercept flight test of the system is to be conducted later this year.