Pentagon spends $442m on 'multiple kill' space interceptors
Smart swarms to eliminate ICBM 'threat clusters'
The US Missile Defence Agency has assigned a further $442m for work on "multiple kill vehicles", designed to let a single American interceptor rocket destroy several orbital targets. The multi-kill capability is seen as vital if the nascent US missile shield is ever to become a credible defence.
Friday's contract award was to Raytheon, to work on their MKV-R concept. Rival US aerospace'n'weapons behemoth Lockheed are also developing a suborbital kill-swarm package, MKV-L. Both schemes would use an interceptor rocket stack to lob a package of "exo-atmospheric kill vehicles" up into the path of objects on suborbital or low-orbital trajectories. The kill vehicles would then separate out, each getting in the way of a different target and so destroying it as much by its own kinetic energy as by that of the interceptor.
Here's a nifty concept vid courtesy of the missile defence people and YouTube:
As the vid explains, Raytheon favour a distributed command system where any of the smartkill modules can be in charge. Lockheed prefer a more conventional setup with a "carrier" command vehicle using a telescope detector directing its accompanying swarm of space kamikaze droids. The idea is that if one plan doesn't work, the other still might.
The objects destroyed would normally be warheads, decoys and so forth - a "threat cluster" - launched by the ICBMs of sinister enemy powers. However, as was shown this summer, a working exo-atmospheric kill vehicle can also quite easily knock out a satellite in low orbit.
The idea of the MKVs is to deal with one of the great weaknesses of the current US missile-defence arsenal, which deploys only single kill vehicles. An ICBM can launch multiple warheads and multiple decoys, meaning that the US might need scores of interceptor rocket stacks to deal with a single enemy missile launch. That's a game not even America can afford to play. But working MKVs could ease the numbers somewhat, letting the defence forces cope with a small enemy missile fleet - if not a major one like that of Russia, able to fill the skies with "threat clusters" tens of thousands strong.
However, the MKV is far from reality yet; and while the Standard naval interceptor seems to work quite well, the heavier and higher-flying landbased mid-course jobs have a shadier reputation. There are many in America who doubt the value of the entire missile defence concept.
With a new Democratic president soon to enter the White House, more Democrats in Washington and a financial crisis gathering steam, the missile shield may find its cash flow a bit tighter quite soon. ®
Who's the "We" white man?
Not being a politician I can't see any benefits from wars, which are fought between politicians treating the lives of yours truly as "collateral damage".
I am a netzian living in a global community.
I now know and can tell you with total certainty that foreigners are not the "blood sucking ghost's" our political oligarchs would have us believe. They are just like me with the same needs, fears and perversions.
They too live under the rule of political oligarchs. I have more in common with any foreigner then I do with my political oligarchs.
After all my foreign brothers and sisters don't force me to pay for weapons so that they can go out and kill my friends with them now do they?
Next pay day just take a look at the deductions figure and think what that money could be spent on if our political oligarchs did not consider us to be "A price worth paying".
Blind militaristic patriotism is like a Turkey campaigning to save Christmas Dinner.
(or when ever you traditionally eat Turkey)
re: anon and Russia
I believe that the video and article actually address your concern. Russia has technology that makes intercept problematic. But we are still in a MAD stance with them. A few interceptors one way or another makes no difference. Ditto with China in about a decade. BUT, Iran, North Korea and China for the next few years can only put up limited numbers of warheads, and accompany them with a small set of decoys. This is the operational realm that MKV is aimed at helping. If anybody takes a whim, to send a ballistic missile our way, or maybe even towards Europe. I think it would be nice to be able to knock it down. Or if you doubt the efficacy of the systems, at least make the shooters think twice that you can probably block their shot. Makes it easier to deal with them and NOT start a war tossing nukes.
Nice soundtrack on the video.
Shame about the tech. Need big ass lasers and particle cannons. Ronald Reagan's Star wars kit had much more glamour.
Mines the one with the shiney bling....