Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle

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Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle prototype

The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) is the Raytheon-manufactured interceptor component with subcontractor Aerojet of the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD), part of the larger National Missile Defense system.

The EKV is boosted to an intercept trajectory by a boost vehicle (missile), where it separates from the boost vehicle and autonomously collides with an incoming warhead.

The EKV is launched by the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missile, the launch vehicle of the GMD system. The EKV's own rockets and fuel are for corrections in the trajectory, not for further acceleration.

The U.S. Navy reported on November 16, 2020 that it had launched a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile with EKV from the USS John Finn (DDG-113) that intercepted a simulated ICBM warhead launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.[1][2] The test was designated as "Flight Test Aegis Weapon System-44 (FTM-44)". The press release included video of both launches and the interception of the warhead by the EKV.[3]

The successor to the EKV, known as the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), was scheduled to debut in 2025.[4] The RKV program, headed by Boeing and lead subcontractor Raytheon, was canceled by the Department of Defense on August 21, 2019. Earlier in the year, the Pentagon had issued a stop work order on the project following a design review deferment in December 2018 due to the failure of critical components meeting technical specification.[5]


  • Weight: approx. 140 lb (64 kg)
  • Length: 55 in (4 ft. 7 in.) (1.4 m)
  • Diameter: 24 in (2 ft.) (0.6 m)
  • Speed of projectile: roughly 10 km/s (22,000 mph)[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Navy Has Shot Down an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile for the First Time". Popular Mechanics. 2020-11-16. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  2. ^ "U.S. successfully conducts SM-3 Block IIA Intercept Test against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Target". 2020-11-16. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  3. ^ "USS John Finn Successful SM-3 Block IIA Intercept Test". 2020-11-17. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  4. ^ Wichner, David. "ICBM target downed in key test of missile defense, Raytheon warhead". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  5. ^ Pietsch, Bryan. "Pentagon ends Boeing 'kill vehicle' contract, cites technical problems". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]