A major U.S. defense contractor announced plans over the weekend to develop space-based defensive anti-missile weapon called a “Multi-Object Kill Vehicle” (MOKVs).
Raytheon believes it can load several MOKV’s to rockets, then deploy them in space or launch them from the ground. MOKVs would have a steering and propulsion system which would allow it to slam into an incoming nuclear weapon, destroying it with kinetic forces.
Raytheon, and other defense contractors like Lockheed-Martin and Boeing have already received contracts from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to begin designing MOKVs. This method could destroy several incoming missiles in space with a single launch, making it more economical to defend against nuclear weapons than to attack with them.
“Ten years ago, we had a single kill vehicle on a single interceptor,” John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, told Seeker. “Kill vehicles today are the size of a toaster. This MOKV program is the latest iteration.”
The program could shoot incoming missiles carrying nuclear weapons out of space, rendering them harmless and making it eaiser to defend the U.S. from a potential nuclear-first strike.
“The impacts would take place beyond Earth’s atmosphere, but on a trajectory that would send the resulting cloud of debris back into the atmosphere, where it burn up,” Pike continued.
The Missile Defense Agency plans to conduct the firsts intercept test in 2019, according to Live Science.
The Department of Defense (DOD) is very worried that both Russia and China are also developing space weapons. These could be capable of knocking out America’s satellites in any future conflict, though these are likely not sophisticated enough to target U.S. nuclear weapons. Knocking out American satellites could give either country a potentially catastrophic edge in war. NatureWorldNews reports this could cause a simple accident in space to trigger an escalation of tensions between the U.S. and either country.
The critical military importance of satellites has been obscured in recent conflicts because most of them were against guerrilla foes who lacked the ability to target American space assets, according to a report published in August by the U.S. National Academies. America’s military relies on numerous satellites to provide precision navigation, communications, weather monitoring, ground surveillance, spying and detection of nuclear missile launches.
The Air Force has already vowed to invest $6.6 billion into efforts to protect America’s satellites over the next six years, and could spend upwards of $10 billion on space operations from combined public and classified budgets this year, according to The Air Force Times.
The Pentagon suspects that the most rapidly rising threat in space is China’s military-led space program. China successfully targeted and destroyed one of its own satellites in orbit in 2007, and has likely tested a ground-based missile launch system to destroy objects in orbit in 2013.
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