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  • Antimissile Makes Its Mark

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2001
The second system-level integrated flight test of the US Ground-based Midcourse Defense Segment (formerly National Missile Defense) program's kinetic antimissile system came off without a hitch. At approximately 11:10 p.m. on July 14, the exoatmospheric kill vehicle component intercepted and destroyed a mock ballistic missile warhead 140 miles above the Pacific.

Produced by Raytheon Co.'s Missile Systems unit of Tucson, Ariz., the kill vehicle employs multispectral infrared cooled focal plane arrays to identify, track and intercept the target at a relative velocity of up to 16,000 mph after separation from the launch vehicle. Boeing Co. of Seattle is the primary contractor for the program; other team members include Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space and TRW Inc.

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