The story says this is a “next-generation kill vehicle”. I had no idea we even had a first-generation kill vehicle operational. Apparently these bad boys are in space and in-service already. Back when I lived closer to Vandenberg AFB I once saw one of the HTK program launches while waiting in traffic on the 118 freeway. They were always in the late afternoon just before dark and looked cool, even from 30-miles away. As they were in their boost phase and you could see the first stage power down and separate and then the second stage would kick-in with a pretty wicked exhaust plume. It always gave me a very patriotic feeling.
Backed by decades of kill vehicle technology expertise, the Raytheon-made EKV is designed to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats by directly colliding with them, a concept often described as ‘hit to kill.’
The EKV has an advanced, multi-color sensor used to detect and discriminate incoming warheads from other objects.
The EKV has its own propulsion, communications link, discrimination algorithms, guidance and control system and computers to support target selection and intercept.
The EKV is deployed and operational today.