Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV)

24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, Raytheon’s Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) stands ready to defend the United States against intercontinental ballistic missiles as a mission-critical component of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD).

If a threat is detected using one of GMD’s multiple land, sea- and space-based sensors, a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) will be launched into space using a three-stage solid rocket booster. Once outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, operating at the edge of space at hypersonic speeds, the EKV’s job begins.
A Ground-based Interceptor roars into the sky carrying a Raytheon-built Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle on June 22, 2014. The kill vehicle destroyed a simulated ballistic missile high over the Pacific Ocean. (Missile Defense Agency photo)
The EKV seeks out the target using multi-color sensors, a cutting-edge onboard computer, and a rocket motor used only for steering in space. It hones in on its target, and with pinpoint precision, destroys it using nothing more than the force of a massive collision. No traditional warhead needed.