US Missile Defense Agency video of the 2 December 2008 free-flight hover test of Lockheed Martin’s Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV-L). The MKV is designed to allow a single interceptor to destroy a ballistic missile equipped with multiple warheads or countermeasures.
image credit: wikimedia
In Lockheed’s design, a seeker-equipped carrier vehicle maneuvers into the path of the ballistic missile then dispenses and guides small kill vehicles to their targets. In its first test, the MKV-L hovered for 20 seconds in a special facility at Edwards AFB, California, while recognizing and tracking a simulated.
Then, instead of exploding, the MKV will maneuver through the threats launching several kill vehicles, each targeted at the different objects on the air, both real dangers and dummies set to deceive missile defenses.
During the test at the Edwards Air Force Base in California, the full-scale prototype MKV flew for 30 seconds, maneuvering while tracking a target at an altitude of 23 feet.
For some reason, seeing this thing floating over the air scares the bejeezus out of me. Maybe it’s the way it moves combined with the stuttering sound, but it certainly looks deadly. Fortunately, it will only be deadly to weapons from the bad guys.
The system included a carrier vehicle with on-board sensors and a number of kill vehicles, each equipped with its own navigation thrusters and weighing around 10 pounds.