January 29, 2014
The Pentagon’s testing czar on Wednesday said a critical piece of the U.S. missile-defense system may require a redesign following multiple test failures.
The Defense Department’s operational test and evaluation office concluded in its fiscal 2013 annual report that repeated misfires of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, or “GMD,” system’s Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle “raise questions regarding the robustness of the EKV’s design.”
The three most recent attempts at intercepting a dummy ballistic missile using the Raytheon-developed EKV component have all been unsuccessful. The last successful test intercept was in 2008.
The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle is the front-end component of the missile-defense architecture’s Ground Based Interceptor and uses kinetic force, rather than a detonating warhead, to destroy incoming missiles. There are two versions of the EKV component — the CE-1 kill vehicle and a later-generation CE-2 model.
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