HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will develop concepts for a kill vehicle capable of taking out multiple objects simultaneously under study contracts from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency valued at $9.7 million each.
The Multi-Object Kill Vehicle, or MOKV, consists of several miniaturized kill vehicles launched atop a single interceptor. It is considered a long-term technology that would be deployed around 2025 to address a key weakness of current missile defense technology: the inability to distinguish between missile warheads, and decoys and other objects.
The program appears to be a resurrection of the Multiple Kill Vehicle that U.S. President Barack Obama terminated shortly after taking office in 2009. The threat has advanced since then as has the technology available to the MDA, industry sources say.
“Under this new contract, the contractor will define a concept that can destroy several objects within a threat complex by considering advanced sensor, divert and attitude control and communication concepts,” the Pentagon said in its announcement.
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James Syring, the MDA’s director, is expected to discuss the program during a speech Aug. 12 here at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium, industry officials said.
Work on the contracts is expected to be completed by May 2016, the Defense Department said in the announcement.
Currently, the MDA’s ground-based interceptors each carry a single kill vehicle designed to home in on an incoming missile warhead and destroy it by force of impact.
“Ultimately, these Multi-Object Kill Vehicles will revolutionize our missile defense architecture, substantially reducing the interceptor inventory required to defeat an evolving and more capable threat to the Homeland,” Syring said in March 18 testimony to the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.
The MDA’s budget request for 2016 includes funds for MOKV concept definition as part of the Common Kill Vehicle program, but does not specify how much is allocated to the effort.