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US's Multiple Kill Vehicle completes hover test


The Multiple Kill Vehicle-L was tested on Tuesday, December 2 at the National Hover Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California. MDA photo

WASHINGTON (BNS): Pentagon's Missile Defence Agency (MDA) has tested a Multiple Kill Vehicle-L (MKV-L) that can recognise and track flying targets.

The trial, held at the National Hover Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California on Tuesday last, successfully established the capability of the vehicle to hover under its own power and recognise and track a surrogate target in flight environment, said MDA Director Lieutenant General Patrick OíReilly in a release.

During the test, the MKV-Lís propulsion system demonstrated manoeuvrability while tracking a target. The vehicle also transmitted video and flight telemetry to the ground.

The MKV-L mission is a medium to destroy through intercontinental-range ballistic missiles equipped with multiple warheads or counter measures by using a single interceptor missile.

The US defence departmentís MDA claimed that during an actual hostile ballistic missile attack, the carrier vehicle with its cargo of small kill vehicles will manoeuvre into the path of an enemy missile. Using, tracking data from the Ballistic Missile Defence System and its own seeker, the carrier vehicle will dispense and guide the kill vehicles to destroy any warheads or counter-measures.

The MDAís Multiple Kill Vehicle is a force multiplier for all the land and sea-based weapons of the integrated midcourse missile defence system. In the event of an enemy launch, a single interceptor equipped with this payload destroys all credible threat objects, including counter measures. This many-on-many strategy eliminates the need for extensive pre-launch intelligence while leveraging the Ballistic Missile Defence Systemís discrimination capability, ensuring a robust and affordable solution to emerging threats.

The MKV-L has been developed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. The Company, located in Sunnyvale, California, is the prime contractor for the MKV-L payload system. For MKV-L engagement management algorithm development, Lockheed Martin performs systems engineering and integration, algorithm development, model-based software development and software testing and integration; the MIT Lincoln Laboratory performs the algorithm development.

Raytheon is also working on a separate multiple kill vehicle technology (MKV-R) on a dual path basis. The Multiple Kill Vehicle is an important component of missile defence.

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