The US Missile Defense Agency conducted a successful non-intercept test on January 28, 2016, aimed at demonstrating the effectiveness of a redesigned kill vehicle (warhead) built by Raytheon.
Missile Defense Agency director, James Syring, told the Center for International and Strategic Studies that the ICBM intercept test, which will include countermeasures, would take place before the end of the year as part of a broad effort to improve the Ground-Base Midcourse Defense System (GMD).
The USA has been developing the US$41bn weapons system to defeat the long-ranges and high velocities of an ICBM like those being developed by North Korea and Iran. It previously tested and intercepted dummy missiles that simulated short and medium-range ballistic missiles.
The MDA is racing to improve the system after it failed to hit a dummy missile in five of eight tests conducted after the George W Bush administration rushed to deploy the system in 2004 to counter growing threats by North Korea.
Boeing vice president Norm Tew said the ICBM intercept test would include new technologies infused into the booster used to launch the ground-based interceptors, and other measures aimed at improving the reliability of the exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV), or warhead, designed by Raytheon.
Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are developing a redesigned kill vehicle for the interceptors, due to have its first flight test in 2018.
February 5, 2016