A once-retired program will possibly be revived and managed by Huntsville’s Missile Defense Agency, located on Redstone Arsenal. MDA confirms that plans are being made to move forward with the resurrection of the Multiple-Object Kill Vehicle Initiative which was terminated in 2009 when, according to MDA, the Department of Defense’s missile defense focus shifted from homeland defense to a ‘Phase Adaptive approach to regional defenses in Europe.’
The program would be revived under the name Multiple-Object Kill Vehicle Program, or MKVP.
The House Armed Services Committee passed the bill out of Committee last week, and it awaits a vote on the floor.
The Ground Based Missile Defense System is currently comprised of one kill vehicle sitting atop one ballistic missile which is launched at an incoming threat. This process is what many in the industry call “hitting a bullet with a bullet.” The problem is that the technology exists to deploy dummy missiles, confusing the defense system and causing it to possibly detonate the wrong target. The MKVP would deploy multiple kill vehicles, that all speak to each other, from one ballistic missile.
MDA confirms they will soon award contracts to design concepts for the new kill vehicle and said the following via email:
“In parallel, we will reduce technical risk in several areas that are critical to making this revolutionary concept a reality. The Agency plan includes the development and test, in 2017, of command and control strategies in both digital and Hardware-in-the-Loop venues that will demonstrate the ability to manage the engagements of many kill vehicles on many targets from a single interceptor. The Agency will also invest in the communication architectures and guidance technology that support this game changing approach.”
Those contracts are expected to be awarded “mid-2015” and mandate that the concepts include the following criteria: component, sub-assembly and system descriptions, Technology Readiness Assessments both integrated and by component, a recommended Technical Requirements Document update, a detailed technology development and maturation program plan, life cycle cost assessment, predicted performance against the anticipated threat, and cost, schedule and risk assessments.
“These industry concepts will be the foundation for transition to proof-of-concept prototype development beginning later this decade. Ultimately, this capability will revolutionize our missile defense architecture, substantially improving interceptor inventory management in raid scenarios against an evolving and more capable threat to the Homeland,” said Debra Christman, spokesperson for MDA.
In its version of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act the House Armed Services Committee allocated more than $80 million to the program.