Missile Agency Looks to Develop a Common Kill Vehicle

Mike O'Brien

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is looking into the possibility of developing a kill vehicle that will fit all of its arsenal.

The common kill vehicle, which is the part of the missile that separates from the main body to intercept an incoming projectile, would be used for Ground-Based Interceptors and various versions of the Standard Missile-3.

The agency sent out a "sources sought" notification to contractors for concepts for the new kill vehicle.

The notice said: "This research will support identification of applicable technology and concepts as well as qualified parties capable of developing and producing modular and scalable kill vehicles and component or subsystem technology applicable to the Ground Based Interceptor and current or future versions of the Standard Missile-3 missile."

The idea is to develop a shared technological platform for the functions now performed by various systems and, ultimately, save money.

Missile Defense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner told Defensetech.org: "The overall goal is to consolidate future kill vehicle technology development efforts.

"This could balance our BMD [ballistic missile defense] system and allow us to achieve results at a lower cost while improving performance. An objective would be for industry to come up with ideas. We’re looking for sources that have the capability to embark upon such a program."

A formal request for proposal may be issued in the near future, he added.

The Ground-Based Interceptors are currently housed at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

SM-3 missiles are launched from Navy ships using the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The Pentagon is also conducting a program called Aegis Ashore to configure SM-3 interceptor missiles to fire from fixed, land-based locations.