Interceptors equipped with a next-generation system that can defeat multiple complex missile threats with just one launch would make U.S. missile defense capabilities even more effective. Lockheed Martin has begun on the 13th of August work in Sunnyvale, California, to define the concept for a Multi-Object Kill Vehicle missile defense system for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
A kill vehicle keeps people safe by destroying an incoming missile before it reaches its destination. It is the part of an interceptor that strikes an incoming warhead, using force of impact alone to limit effects on the ground. All of today’s major U.S. missile defense systems use the hit-to-kill force-of-impact technology pioneered by Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale.
“We will devise and explore the most effective solutions for destroying more than one warhead with a single interceptor, an important step in changing the cost curve for missile defense engagement,” said Doug Graham, vice president of missile systems and advanced programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “Our talented engineers will use out-of-the-box Silicon Valley thinking to create an ultra-high-performance system that will operate outside of the atmosphere while traveling thousands of miles per hour.” Engineering experts at the company’s Huntsville, Alabama, facility also will contribute to the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle concept.
Such a system could thwart an attack involving a single missile that releases a group of objects that includes the warhead plus decoys that are warhead look-alikes.
Under the $9.7 million contract, Lockheed Martin will develop a system concept for use on the interceptors used by the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation’s ballistic missile defense system. The company will consider advanced sensor, communication and divert-and-attitude control technologies and approaches, and will identify methods for reducing technical risks. This approach not only will expand the defense of the United States against potential missile attacks, but also will require fewer interceptors to do so.
As the proven world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, Lockheed Martin has developed systems, such as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Patriot Advanced Capability-3, that have achieved more than 100 successful intercepts in combat and flight testing since 1984 – more than any other company.