WATCH: ‘Two shot salvo’ destroys mock ballistic missile in US test

For the first time, the US Missile Defense Agency, launched two Raytheon-built Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles in a back-to-back test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

The organisation say that one EKV destroyed a mock intercontinental ballistic missile and the other gathered data in what is called a “two-shot salvo” engagement.

It was the eleventh intercept for the GMD programme, which is designed to protect the US by destroying incoming ballistic missiles while they are still in space. The historic double launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California mirrored a real-world scenario, where more than one interceptor is fired to ensure an incoming missile will be destroyed.

“The system is among the most complex, and serves as the first line of ballistic missile defense for the United States,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president in a news statement after the launch.

After receiving tracking and targeting data from Raytheon’s sea-based X-band radar and land-based AN/TPY-2 radar, the EKV identified the target, discriminated between the target and countermeasures, maneuvered into the target’s path and destroyed it using “hit-to-kill” technology. Both radars play critical roles in supporting the GMD system.

“In these tests, we see the entire ballistic missile defense system at work. The sensors bring the ability to identify, track and discriminate threats early in the engagement,” said Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Raytheon’s Mission Systems and Sensors.

“The precision a kill vehicle intercept requires begins with the critical targeting data.”

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This is the right direction to counter rogue states and terrorist taking over command of a nuke system; if ever such a scenario was at all feasible? As for military balance, the existence of an interceptor weapon could, in reality, increase the chances of conflict between major powers as daft as that may sound?

Daniele Mandelli


Because of the whole point of MAD.

The Soviets used to say that concerning President Reagan’s SDI.

If one develops this system to such a degree it negates a counter force strike by the other it could cause problems.

However, such is the number of MIRV held by both sides even this system expanded further and the long standing Moscow ABM defences maybe are not enough to guarantee safety.

I recall the UK’s Polaris had the Chevaline system developed by AWE to counter Moscow’s ABM system.

But for smaller “rogue states” and other such, I agree.


Yes, me too. It also calls into question whether Trident renewal and Successor is a waste of money.

Problem is though at 9-12% of the defence budget, a last resort insurance, the CASD is a very cost-effective home defence as it deters the need for one apart from the basics.

Get rid of Trident, and the UK would have to INCREASE the defence budget to 3% of GDP.

(in my opinion).

Steve Taylor

It is a question of scale and value. For our conventional forces with modern systems to make a significant impact on their performance would take much, much, more than 3% year on year cost of the deterrent. We can’t now just restart building Astutes and we need to keep Barrow in work. And it isn’t the cost of the boats that takes up the majority of that slice of the budget but AWE, roughly 1:3. Large scale industrial warfare is now an anachronism. As the GWOT has shown using 21st century weapons to beat up bearded chaps with AK’s doesn’t… Read more »


I think the current thinking in Whitehall is holding a big stick is still the best deterrent. Countermeasures and multiple drone intercepters may in time make our nuclear subs redundant. I firmly believe our brand new ballistic subs will be challenged as we go forward in a rapidly developing era. There is a possibility the whole concept of sub based deterrent may undergo the same sweeping changes, as witnessed with the demise of the ‘V Force?’


Is it just me but the BM launch is at night as is the kill while intercept launch is in broad daylight… Long range or what



Kwajalein Atoll, where the ballistic missile was launched from is 4841.138 miles southwest of Vandenberg Air Force Base where the interceptors where launched from.