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Boeing-led Missile Defense Team Achieves Intercept in Flight Test

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by Indus Falcon, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Boeing-led Missile Defense Team Achieves Intercept in Flight Test
    - Test is 1st intercept using an enhanced version Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV)

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala., June 22, 2014– In a complex test today over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and an industry team led by Boeing [NYSE: BA] intercepted and destroyed a target in flight using the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.

    This was a successful test using an enhanced version of the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), a device attached to the intercept booster, that flew on its own, hit and destroyed the target.

    “Today’s test demonstrated the system’s performance under an expanded set of conditions that reflect real-world operational requirements,” said Jim Chilton, vice president and general manager, Boeing Strategic Missile & Defense Systems. “Working together with our government, military and industry partners, we have delivered a capability that continues to demonstrate its readiness and reliability to protect the United States.”

    The test began at 2.49PM Eastern time when a threat-representative target was launched into the Pacific Range from the Marshall Islands. With tracking data from the Boeing-developed Sea-based X-band Radar and the Aegis SPY-1 radar, ship-based military operators launched the ground-based interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

    The EKV was released while the interceptor was in space. The EKV received updates from the GMD system, detected and tracked the target and destroyed it through a high-speed impact. This test met several key objectives, including achieving a long flight time and high-velocity closing speeds.

    “The operational complexity of the GMD system is a major engineering challenge, but we have drawn upon our unmatched expertise to work toward today’s successful intercept,” said Norm Tew, Boeing vice president and GMD program director. “This test enables us to continually modernize and improve the system, providing even greater capabilities to protect this country.”

    With interceptors at Vandenberg and Fort Greely, Alaska, GMD is an integral element of the United States' layered ballistic missile defense architecture. The program consists of command-and-control facilities, communications terminal, and a 20,000-mile fiber-optic communications network that interface with ballistic missile defense radars and other sensors. Boeing has been prime contractor since 2001 and works with partners Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK and Raytheon.
    Boeing-led Missile Defense Team Achieves Intercept in Flight Test
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  2. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV)

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    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).

    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.
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    A Ground-Based Interceptor missile carrying a Raytheon kill vehicle roars into the sky during a 2013 test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. (Missile Defense Agency photo)


    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.


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    The kinetic energy from an Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle’s collision with the target in space vaporizes the threat.


    Raytheon Company: Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV)
     
  3. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    EXOATMOSPHERIC KILL VEHICLE (EKV)

    Originated From: United States
    Possessed By: United States
    Basing: Land
    Status: Operational
    In Service: 2004, on GBI

    The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) is a small flying device located in the tip of a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missile. It is designed to separate from the GBI in flight, punch through the Earth’s atmosphere, and smash into an incoming ballistic missile in its midcourse phase, i.e. while the missile is at its highest trajectory. Once operational, the EKV will be a critical part of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, scheduled for deployment in September 2004.

    The GMD project began in 1998 as part of a $1.6 billion dollar initial contract to Boeing. Raytheon is developing the EKV, and the project is currently undergoing extensive ground and flight tests. Each EKV will cost between $20 and $25 million, and will include a range of sophisticated devices: infrared sensors, an internal navigational system, antennas, thruster engines, a cryogenic cooling system, and a small computer. Even with all its components, the entire device can fit comfortably on a kitchen table.

    Once deployed, the GMD system will consist of GBI missiles deployed in underground silos protecting all 50 states. Each interceptor will carry an EKV in its tip. In the event that an enemy missile is detected, the GMD command center will give the launch command and the GBI missile will climb toward the target’s predicted location, receiving in-flight updates from ground-based radars and satellites along the way.

    Almost immediately after its launch, the EKV will begin its cryogenic cooling process. Krypton gas will surround its infrared sensors, allowing ice cubes to form that will cool the sensors to hundreds of degrees below zero. Even though a midcourse-phase ballistic missile will not have heat-producing rocket plumes, its warhead will remain relatively warm against the ice-cold background of space. The EKV’s cooled infrared sensors will be capable of detecting even the smallest amounts of heat radiation.

    Three minutes into its flight (approximately 1,400 miles from its target), the EKV will separate from the GBI. Dozens of cables will be blown off and four springs will propel the kill vehicle forward. The EKV will immediately bank sharply to either the right or the left to avoid being hit from behind by the booster. From this point forward, the kill vehicle will proceed to the target on its own momentum.

    As the EKV closes in on its target, the combined velocity of the kill vehicle and the incoming missile will approach 15,000 miles per hour (four miles per second, or five times the speed of a bullet), leaving little room for last minute maneuvers. As Charles F. LaDue, Raytheon’s program manager, once remarked, “It’s like hitting a golf ball across the country, from Los Angeles to New York, and getting a hole in one even though the pin is moving and there are a whole bunch of others that look just like it.”

    Approximately 100 seconds before impact, the EKV’s infrared sensors will switch on and begin tracking the incoming ballistic missile. To achieve complete threat neutralization, the EKV will collide with the warhead’s “sweet spot,” an area just a few centimeters wide where the missile’s payload is located. In the event of a precise hit, the kinetic energy of the EKV and the missile will pulverize the warhead and destroy any nuclear, chemical, or biological agents it might be carrying.

    Despite its many technical obstacles, five out of seven test interceptions have been successful. The most recent was on October 14, 2002, when an interceptor from the Reagan Test Site in the central Pacific Ocean tracked and destroyed a target vehicle launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at an altitude of 140 miles and a closing speed in excess of 15,000 miles per hour. MDA plans to perform approximately 17 more hit-to-kill intercepts over the next several years. MDA is also developing and constructing a Test Bed that will allow it to conduct rigorous EKV tests at angles, speeds, and conditions that closely resemble operational scenarios.

    Due to these successes, the EKV program has received enthusiastic support from the Bush Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. MDA is currently installing six GBI missiles at Fort Greely in Alaska, and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Over 20 interceptors, all of which will include EKVs, are scheduled for deployment over the next two years.

    Last updated: April 29, 2013


    Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) | Missile ThreatMissile Threat
     
  4. F-22Raptor

    F-22Raptor SENIOR MEMBER

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    Excellent news. The GMD has been the troubled program of our ballistic missile defense systems. It's great to see a successful test.
     
  5. atlssa

    atlssa FULL MEMBER

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    First in 6 years: Troubled US missile defense system hits test target — Medium
    Published: June 22, 2014

    After more than six years of failures and billions of dollars spent the US missile defense system managed by Boeing has successfully hit a mock enemy warhead over the Pacific, the US Defense Department confirmed.

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    FILE photo. Ground-based Midcourse Defense launch. (Image from boeing.com)
    “This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic missile defense system,” said Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Admiral James Syring, after a successful test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system — the only US defensive system theoretically capable of intercepting intercontinental ballasting missiles midcourse.
    Syring added that all components involved in the test performed as designed. The performance of the system in Sunday tests will now be analyzed for several months using data obtained during the intercept.

    The target hit was an intermediate-range missile launched from the Marshall Islands. The simulated launch was then tracked by the US radar systems that communicated the coordinates of the target to the ground-based interceptor, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The warhead — EKV Capability Enhancement II ‘kill vehicle’ — built by Raytheon Co, was successful in destroying the target.

    Three previous attempts to test GDM’s ability to hit the simulated enemy target failed despite the scenarios being specifically scripted for success. In fact the last time the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) had something to brag about was in December 2008, when the system intercepted and destroyed a missile launched from Kodiak. The government funded project is estimated to cost the American taxpayer over $40 billion by 2017.

    Chicago-based multinational Boeing Corporation partnered up with the MDA back in 1998. The system was upgraded to “operational” in 2004 to counter the “North Korean threat.” In December 2008, the MDA awarded the company a $397.9 million contract to continue development of the program. Boeing is responsible of managing the team of other subcontractors, as well as integrating and testing the GDM system under the Development and Sustainment Contract, awarded in December 2011.

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    FILE photo. Ground-based Midcourse Defense (Image from boeing.com)
    Boeing is tasked to provide the US government with round the clock operational capability through the use of multiple land, sea and space-based sensors to detect and track missile threats during their boost phase.
    In order to annihilate the threat, the system is designed to launch a three-stage solid booster Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) equipped with an Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) towards the target while it’s still in space, outside the planet’s atmosphere. The EKV is then supposed to destroy the hostile missile “using only the kinetic force of direct collision,” the company says.

    Before Sunday tests, only 8 of the total 17 hit-to-kill intercept tests have succeeded. With 47 percent success rate. In response to the repeated failures, the Pentagon had previously demanded a budget increase for the program.

    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2014 requires MDA to improve the kill assessment capability and the hit assessment capability of the GMD system as early as 2018. The bill authorizes $100 million for design and development of common kill vehicle technology for an upgraded enhanced exo-atmospheric kill vehicle for the GMD system, an increase of $30 million above the budget request, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation reports.

    “Would you spend $1 billion on an insurance policy that only worked one third of the time?” said Tom Collina, research director at the Arms Control Association. “We need to put the money into making the system better, not bigger,” Reuters reports.

    MDA currently has 30 ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska. Twenty of the interceptors carry an early version of the kill vehicle that separates from the rocket and hits the incoming missile. The other 10 carry the upgraded version of the EKV.

    In March 2013, the Obama administration announced plans for an additional 14 at Fort Greely in response to North Korean threats. The deployment of a second TPY-2 radar to Japan was announced at the same time.

    “What makes the recent intercept test failures especially disconcerting is that these tests have occurred under highly scripted and controlled conditions. For example, the GMD system has never been tested against an intercontinental range missile. In addition, the system has yet to prove effective against decoys and countermeasures that an adversary could deploy to fool our defenses,” Kingston Reif from The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation said earlier this year.

    Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, Dr. Michael Gilmore in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 report to Congress also questioned the capabilities of the GMD.

    “Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) has demonstrated a partial capability to defend the US Homeland from small numbers of simple intermediate or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea or Iran,” Gilmore’s report to congress states.

    Phil Coyle, a former Pentagon chief tester and a long-time critic, called for accelerated work on a new design. “We need to make sure we have a system that works, not expand a system we know to be deeply flawed,” Reuters quotes him as saying.

    READ MORE: US missile defense system proves to be useless after $40 bln spent

    First in 6 years: Troubled US missile defense system hits test target — Medium
     
  6. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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  7. The SC

    The SC ELITE MEMBER

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  8. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Target Missile Intercepted Over the Pacific Ocean During Missile Defense Exercise
    June 22, 2014

    The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense, U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Navy completed an integrated exercise of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). During the test today, a long-range ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army's Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

    The test, designated Flight Test Ground-Based Interceptor-06b (FTG-06b), will provide the data necessary to assess the performance of numerous BMDS elements for homeland defense.

    Navy Vice Adm. James D. Syring, Missile Defense Agency director, said, "I am very proud of the government and industry team conducting the test today. Their professionalism and dedication made this test a success."

    He added, "This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic missile defense system. We'll continue efforts to ensure our deployed Ground-based Interceptors and our overall homeland defensive architecture continue to provide the warfighter an effective and dependable system to defend the country."

    For this exercise, a threat-representative, intermediate-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Reagan Test Site. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70), with its Aegis Weapon System, detected and tracked the target using its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar, which provided data to the GMD fire control system via the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communication (C2BMC) system. The Sea-Based X-Band radar also tracked the target, and relayed information to the GMD fire control system to assist in the target engagement and collect test data.

    About six minutes after target launch, the Ground-Based Interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base. A three-stage booster rocket system propelled the interceptor's Capability Enhancement II EKV into the target missile's projected trajectory in space. The kill vehicle maneuvered to the target, performed discrimination, and intercepted the threat warhead with "hit to kill" technology, using only the force of the direct collision between the interceptor and the target to destroy the target warhead. This was the first intercept using the second- generation Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle.

    An operational crew of U.S. Army soldiers from the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, remotely launched the interceptor.

    Initial indications are that all components performed as designed. Program officials will spend the next several months conducting an extensive assessment and evaluation of system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

    The test was the 65th successful hit-to-kill intercept of 81 attempts since 2001 for the Ballistic Missile Defense System. The GMD element of the system has completed four intercepts using the operationally configured interceptor since 2006. Operational Ground-Based Interceptors are currently deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, protecting the nation, our friends, and allies against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack.


    Target Missile Intercepted Over the Pacific Ocean During Missile Defense Exercise
     
  9. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    [​IMG]
    EKV

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    GMD Launch 2001


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    Missile Loading 2003

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    GMD Control Center, Fort Greely, AK

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    Clear AFS, AK


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  10. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Missile Defense: Next Steps for the USA’s GMD
    Jun 22, 2014 16:54 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff

    GMD finally gets a kill in a scripted test, after many years.

    June 22/14: FTG-06b Kill! After a gap lasting more than 5 years, the GMD system has killed an incoming target during a live test. The GBI interceptor was launched from Vandenberg AFB, CA to intercept an intermediate-range ballistic missile target launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

    The IRBM target was launched from the Reagan Test Site, then detected and tracked by the US Navy destroyer USS Hopper [DDG 70, with AEGIS BMD 4.0.2] and the Sea-Based X-Band radar, which provided data to GMD fire control using the MDA’s C2BMC back-end system. The intercept was achieved by an EKV CE-II model. Sources: US MDA, “Target Missile Intercepted Over the Pacific Ocean During Missile Defense Exercise” | Raytheon, “Raytheon kill vehicle destroys complex, long-range ballistic missile target in space”.

    The USA’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program uses land-based missiles to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in the middle of their flight, outside the atmosphere. The missiles are currently based at 2 sites in the USA: 4 at Vandenberg AFB in California, and 20 (eventually 26) at Fort Greely in Alaska.

    The well-known Patriot missiles provide what’s known as terminal-phase defense options, while longer-reach options like the land-based THAAD perform terminal or descent-phase interceptions. Even so, their sensors and flight ranges are best suited to defense against shorter range missiles launched from in-theater.

    In contrast, GMD is designed to defend against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). It depends on tracking that begins in the boost phase, in order to allow true mid-course interception attempts in space, before descent or terminal phase options like THAAD and then Patriot would be tried. In order to accomplish that task, GMD missiles must use data feeds from an assortment of long-range sensors, including satellites like SBIRS and DSP, some SPSS/BMEWS huge early-warning radars, and even the naval SBX radar.

    Kindly read the complete article here:
    Missile Defense: Next Steps for the USA’s GMD
     
  11. Aepsilons

    Aepsilons PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    The U.S. says it has succeeded in testing a defense system intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea or Iran in the exosphere. The exosphere is the outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of more than 500 km.

    In a Boeing-run Ground-based Midcourse Defense system on Sunday, a 5-feet-long (about 152 cm) "kill vehicle," detached from a ground-based interceptor missile precisely hit a target missile launched from a test site on Kwajalein Atoll west of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific toward the U.S. mainland, the Pentagon said.

    The interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A kill vehicle must fly at a speed of more than Mach 20 to intercept an incoming missile.

    It was the first time in six years that the U.S. has succeeded in a GMD test. The interceptor made by Raytheon is an improved version of an earlier kill vehicle that failed in two tests in 2010.

    To counter the threat of intercontinental missiles from North Korea and Iran, the U.S. conducted 16 GMD tests between 1999 and 2013, but it had a poor success rate of 50 percent despite costing more than US$40 billion.

    The latest success will boost Washington's plans to build a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which it is likely to pressure Seoul to join.


    The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - U.S. Missile Intercept Test 'a Success'
     
  12. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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  13. Falcon29

    Falcon29 BANNED

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    Just a week ago they said it failed miserably. :lol: