MULTIPLE KILL VEHICLE COMPLETES HOVER TEST, Dec. 3, 2008. Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly announced that a test of the Multiple Kill Vehicle-L (MKV-L) was conducted Tuesday, Dec. 2 at the National Hover Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.  Preliminary indications are that planned test objectives were achieved. Objectives of the test included having the MKV-L hover under its own power and prove its capability to recognize and track a surrogate target in a flight environment.  During the test, the MKV-L’s propulsion system demonstrated maneuverability while tracking a target. The MKV-L transmitted video and flight telemetry to the ground. The MKV-L mission is to destroy medium through intercontinental-range ballistic missiles equipped with multiple warheads or countermeasures by using a single interceptor missile…

So Scribe — what’s a hover test look like?

Glad you asked — peek below the fold to see…




  1. Well… that was interesting! I’m not sure what it is I saw, but it was entertaining! 😉

  2. Steeljawscribe


    What you’re watching is a prototype of an MKV testing it’s ability to maneuver using the ACS (attitude control system) which is a key item in the ability to locate the target complex and then launch the individual kill vehicles at said complex. Right now, there is just the single KV which uses a similar ACS to direct the vehicle to hat it thinks is the targeted RV.
    – SJS

  3. claudio

    Amazing stability when considering gravity is involved. even with the pulsed main jet, it never wobbled. nice work.


  4. EdT

    The two restarts from a random orientation were very nicely done. I wonder how long the fuel for the thrusters lasts, the range of the device (how far can it move under power to intercept) and whether these could be deployed into LEO and remain dormant until needed or until the orbit decays. Hopefully all the data is positive and next up is a full-up model for an operational test of the deploy, track and kill. Assuming of course UncleBamBam and the Pelosi-Reid gang don’t kill Missile Defense as “too expensive and not necessary”.

  5. Steeljawscribe

    As currently designed, no elements of the BMDS are capable of LEO and Congressional restrictions on developing space-based weapons already in place preclude movement in that direction. Ergo, all our BMD intercept capabilities (high and low-tier) are direct ascent/Hit-to-kill.
    Ob. the incoming gang – the realities of power and accompanying responsibilities can have a sobering, if not chilling effect on the heated rhetoric of the campaign. I personally think we’l see work continued, if not accelerated on regional systems like Aegis/SM-3, THAAD and Patriot and decreased or sustainment-level for the ground-based interceptor system. Not making any bets on the European component, however…
    – SJS

  6. SSG Jeff (USAR)

    Want to impress me? Do this in a KC-135 on a parabolic trajectory.

    Testing in a 1G field something that is supposed to work in microgravity isn’t quite a full test.

  7. Well, yeah — but I think the 135 crew might get a little hinky about turning something loose inside the cabin that’s spitting fire from multiple ports…
    – SJS

  8. EdT

    Thanks, I didn’t recall if the restrictions on Space Based Weapons was still there. I recall the days of “Brilliant Pebbles” and how that scared the crap out of the Russians and a lot of others too.

    Unfortunately until we invent anti-gravity such tests have to take place at 1G here on Earth. At least if it doesn’t work we can recover it whereas in space it’s a lot harder.

    I did notice a change in rhetoric on National Security once Obama got the Daily Intelligence Brief that the President gets. Bet that opened his eyes a lot. Now if he’ll quit trying to bail out every Tom, Dick and Harry, raise my taxes, nationalize the Auto and Health Care sectors he may turn out to be a passable President. I don’t see how he can do everything he wants to do domestically AND keep Defense strong all in a down economy and a world-wide environment that is not interested in buying US debt. Watch out for the smoke and mirrors and check your six quite often as someone may be sneaking up on your wallet.

  9. Thomas Barton, J.D.

    😈 the Post By EdT at #8 reveals that the sturm und drang over the big3 bailout effectively misdirected the attention of the citizenry.. Our wallets have been cleaned out and will continue to be cleaned out by the mountains of Junk that undergirds the major banks such as Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. Obama will be following Keynsian principles which are even today coming out of the mouth of Larry Kudlow, Mr. Free Market as long as my Free Market is not swallowed by the Mountain of Junk which I and my fellow Free Marketers happily created for 6 plus years. Our wallets have 1.5 trillion dollars flowing to Wall Street and 2009 will see another 1.5 to 2 Trillion flow into the coffers of the Powerful who toyed with our country and currency as my kittycat does his little blue snake. Also I have strong doubts about the MKV in a combat intercept when Russian, Ukrainian and Iranian engineers know that they can make their Important Core RV as difficult to hit as a Mig17 was by a 1966 vintage Sparrow missile. I hope that some of these warheads we use utilize Fourth Generation nuclear warheads with directed blast effects.. Not unlike a microfission driven BMD Bazooka for the 2010’s.

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