The U.S. military is working on a “robust missile defense system” that, when deployed in space, will feature a vast array of small, toaster-sized satellite vehicles capable of shooting down enemy nuclear missiles from space long before they can reach their designated targets. Called the MOKV (Multi-Object Kill Vehicle), the weapon will act as a dispersal agent, a delivery component with any number of the small “killer” vehicles as cargo until said cargo reaches certain respected drop-off postings.
Seeker reported that last year, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency awarded contracts to defense contractors Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, and Boeing to start drawing up designs for what is known as a “Multi-Object Kill Vehicle,” or, to bow to the military’s penchant for acronyms, an MOKV. These vehicles would have the capability of destroying several objects in space with each single launch.
John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, told Seeker that the size of the missile interceptors had decreased dramatically over the last decade.
“Ten years ago, we had a single kill vehicle on a single interceptor. Kill vehicles today are the size of a toaster… This MOKV program is the latest iteration.”
Raytheon has plans to display its candidate in a concept review this month. The defense contractor’s idea consists of placing a payload of multiple MOKVs onto a single missile launch. Each MOKV would be independently outfitted with sensors, a steering and propulsion system, and communications equipment, allowing the small weapons to stalk an individual target and hit it. The transfer of kinetic force alone will destroy the targeted object, effectively “killing” the target while in space. According to Pike, the MOKV will strike at such a trajectory as to send the resulting missile debris into the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up on its re-entry.
As noted, such a defense system is comprised of more kill vehicles than anything designed in the past, making said system a far more efficient defensive — and protective — armament than its grandfather, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). A product of the Ronald Reagan administration, SDI, or “Star Wars” as the media mockingly referred to the then as yet unfeasible anti-ballistic missile defense system, was to be the first line of defense against first-strike antagonists with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs). Bill Clinton’s administration inherited the “Star Wars” initiative and renamed it the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in 1993. In 2002, with George W. Bush in the White House, the initiative was bestowed with its current moniker, the Missile Defense Agency.
And as unfeasible as the “Star Wars” initiative may have been in 1984, advances in technology over the intervening years — computers, miniaturization, propulsion, weaponry — has provided the military with the capabilities it lacked three decades ago.
During the same period, countries like China, Russia, and even Iran have developed far more sophisticated MIRVs, according to the Sun. These vehicles, each with the capability of carrying multiple nuclear warheads, have been confirmed to exist.
“Both China and Russia possess the MIRV capability for their ballistic missiles,” independent consultant Debalina Ghoshal wrote in a report for the Federation of American Scientists in June. “In 2014, reports confirmed that Iran too had developed Multiple Re-entry Vehicles (MRVs) for their ballistic missiles. Cold War literature suggests that MIRVs are first strike weapons and could be strategically destabilizing. The United States realizes these threats and is working towards a robust missile defense system.”
As warfare extends its domain into space, the components of its actualization are preceding it. Foremost among such components, of course, are satellites, which can be disguised as telecommunications and weather craft (and actually perform those functions while they await a perceived threat). As CNN revealed in its latest special report, “War In Space: The Next Battlefield,” China, Russia, and the United States are all working on gaining military advantage of near space. The Inquisitr reported that all actors in what amounts to a new arms race in space have entered the arena with the hollow protestations of either practical applications of their new space assets or spun the weapons as being purely defensive.
The MOKV now becomes part of the expanding list of weapons to be potentially used in space. When deployed, Ronald Reagan’s grand vision of an actual space-based defensive anti-ballistic missile system to safeguard the U.S., albeit the grandson to SDI (“Star Wars”), will finally be realized.
[Featured Image by Mechanik/Shutterstock]