Pentagon’s New Ballistic Missile Interceptor Doesn’t Work, Suffers Years-Long Delay

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Originally Published on This Site.

13 March 2019

PENTAGON: The Pentagon’s next-generation interceptor warhead to kill ballistic missiles, the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (KV), is at least two years away from working out its issues, despite years of development. That pushes back the fielding of the last pieces of a $40 billion dollar missile defense system that has struggled since the late 1990s.

A Ground-Based Interceptor loaded into a silo at Fort Greely, Alaska. Photo: MDA

The RKV delay won’t effect the overall expansion of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system from 44 to 64 interceptors based in California and Alaska — meant to protect the United States from North Korean missiles — but it does ensure that the existing interceptor, the Exoastmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), s will stay in service even longer, despite a spotty track record.

Both the fledgling RKV and the current EKV are built by Raytheon. Both go on the same booster rocket, the Ground-Based Interceptor. The GBI soars above the atmosphere into space, where the kill vehicle detaches and collides with the incoming ICBM, destroying it (hence the name “kill vehicle”).

The delay, which was outlined in the Missile Defense Agency’s 2020 budget request released Tuesday, pushes back the new system’s first potential test intercept until fiscal year 2023 (which begins Oct. 1 2022). The Redesigned Kill Vehicle will not be placed on missiles until around 2025 at the soonest.

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