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Imperial killer drones come closer to reality.

MKV-L Hover 'Bot!
 
You were warned.
 

Oh, sure, they *say* it's for missile defense.  But we know the truth.  It's all for the founding of the Imperium!  You only *think* Mr. Obama is going to assume the reins of power next month.  In fact, these 'droids will flood the streets and keep us in our place, when the overthrow occurs!
December 3, 2008
Multiple Kill Vehicle Completes Hover Test

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. During an actual hostile ballistic missile attack, the carrier vehicle with its cargo of small kill vehicles will maneuver into the path of an enemy missile. Using tracking data from the Ballistic Missile Defense System and its own seeker, the carrier vehicle will dispense and guide the kill vehicles to destroy any warheads or countermeasures.

The MKV-L development team is led by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.

The Raytheon Company is also developing a separate multiple kill vehicle technology (MKV-R) on a dual-path basis.
For a nice hi-res pic, click here.  H/t, Bloodspite.

Update:  Since some people are starting to ask technical questions, or are leaning towards a falsity check - here's the link I should have provided earlier - the video comes from the Missile Defense Agency.

29 Comments

Very cool but i refuse to be impressed until there's lasers and a sonic screwdriver.  I must admit I wonder just how much fuel the thing uses.
 
I, for one, welcome our alien overlords... There're clearly willing to spend on defense reasearc.  :-p
 
But all I ever wanted was freaking dolphins with freaking lazers attached to their heads!!!
 
We r can haz Bolo soon?
   
Kat - no, this is an ballistic missile killer.

Paul - we're working on those, but Greenpeace keeps busting on us for being cruel to sharks.

The sharks?  They *like* lasers...
 
I bet that would work great against zombies
 

This seems old, I'll swear or affirm (for those who don't swear) that I saw this.  Too unique to mistake.  Yeah, I know the date on it says this week.  No conspiracy, just that they're still working on it I guess.

 
this IS the droid you were looking for.
 
Yeah Rod, I remember seeing a test like this several years ago, although I think that was shorter and it just came up, hovered and dropped - no lateral repositioning.  Does seem pretty fuel intensive though.
 
Either this is an obvious question that everybody else missed, or I missed something important...

How BIG is it?  I haven't been able to find any frame of reference in the photo or the video.  For some reason my instincts say it's about a foot or two long, but the description as a killer of ICBM warheads suggests that it should be the size of an automobile at least.

And yes, I agree that the design seems like it would consume fuel at an incredibly high rate.  A reaction control system makes sense if you're floating in space and just need to make tiny adjustments, or if you're feeding it from a turbine like in the Harrier, but this doesn't look like it has a turbine...maybe it's just throwing hypergolic fuels out the sides?
 
I hate to admit this but when I saw the picture I thought it was a joke.  I thought it was a hi-tech/SciFi new defense system to defend Beth's Chickens in the Hen House.  OOOPS. 
 
 Rod & Pogue,

You probably did see a similar video before, but of the current Kinetic Kill Vehicle (KKV).  

The MKV will be an improvement.  Each GBI (Ground Based Interceptor) can currently carry one KKV, so we would typically need to launch multiple GBIs for each inbound ICBM.  The MKV takes advantage of improved technology to put several KVs on each GBI, improving the Pk, particularly against more sophisticated adversaries (PENAIDS, multiple RVs, etc.).  It's the missile defense version of MIRV.

As for the fuel consumption - not a concern, given the short engagement time.  The KKV divert thrusters only fire during the endgame, a few seconds before impact.  The hover tests take advantage of the high thrust  developed by the divert thrusters to perform realistic ground tests - since they need to deliver over 1g in order to maneuver during the endgame, some clever folks realized that you can use one thruster to hover the KV while the others maneuver.
 
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who had the weird feeling that I had seen this footage before.  Like, ten years ago.  I'm not a tinfoilhatter, but it certainly does feel like this is recycled footage.
 
Ah, Paul, a man after my own heart.  Never met an acronym he couldn't use... but at least defines 'em!

So, Paul - d'you happen to work for Raytheon or Lockheed-Martin?
 
Thanks Paul, that does sound familiar.  I seem to recall with the earlier test the ability to hover wasn't really a requirement, someone realized that it had enough thrust to do it so why bother with expensive zero g testing...
 
Fuel usage is relative.  Remember this thing is designed to work in space.  a zero-g enviroment therefore it would use less fuel than it does on the ground.
 
Ahhhh, so they're not actually intended to lift themselves off the ground, hm?  Makes much more sense now.

So my question still stands...how big is it?
 
Only thing I've found on size so far:

http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/781/multiple-kill-vehicles-mkv.  Can't speak for the reliability or source of this photo.



 
Interesting photo, Rod.  It looks like 12 of those interceptors are mounted on the test vehicle (the high res photo shows them marked as "INERT". ) The photo of the guy holding it makes me think the interceptor has a diameter of around 6 inches.  That would make the inner carrier vehicle about 18 inches in diameter so the major diameter is somewhere around 32 inches.  Using the Mk 1 Eyeball on the video makes me think the vehicle length is between 5 and 6 feet.  Also, even though all the visual clues make me want to think it's a small vehicle, once the thrusters shut down it takes almost a second to fall to the net.  That would mean a hover altitude of 25 - 30 feet.  The side shots make it look like it's hovering maybe 5 body lengths high, which would be about right if I'm not totally out to lunch on my other guesses.  Now, after all this deduction someone will show me a full size model and it'll only be six inches long... 
 

  Now see,

     Here I was thinking that this is the perfect room-clearing device. You just get your droid to toss one of these little RONCO flailing death machines in the door, and it does it's thing.

     I could imagine the quizzical looks of those inside when this rolls in and just lays there. They draw closer, try to figure it out, then all of a sudden  BLAMMO!

     It leaps up and starts spewing death in every direction. Anyone not hit would probably sh!t themselves to death anyway, so it's a win-win situation..  :)

     Heh.....  I can haz a gross plz?  I haz planz.....
 
Haha yeah, my friend said the EXACT same thing when I showed him the video!
 
John -

Remember, NASA is the National Association for Synthesizing Acronyms!

Neither Raytheon nor L-M, but I worked on another aspect of NMD about ten years ago - spent lots of time commuting between DC and Falcon AFB.



 
Don't know about the techy stuffs, but the cage it's in does imply that the gizmo has rage/twitch control issues.

Just listen to that thing spit and hiss. Needs therapy for sure and for certain.
 
If they find an efficient fuel source for this thing, we're doomed. Especially if Colossus gets control of them.
 
It hovers, makes a gawdawful racket, and spits chemically-propelled kinetic-kill projectiles in seemingly random directions in seemingly random sequence.

I'm in love.
 
BillT, don't you fly one of these?
 
Serious question:

What happened to the program that was using genetically enhanced space monkeys that threw hand-fulls of hyper velocity poop pellets at missiles?

That's a program I could get behind. Way behind.

PS. Don't blame the hyphen on me. Spell checker done it.
 
BillT, don't you fly one of these?

Weeeeeeeell, it looked like me going into a couple of hot LZs, and the faw-down-and-roll-over at the end was kind of familiar...