If you have been following the recent events, you must have started imagining missile attacks from Russia, Iran or North Korea. Well, it’s just natural to assume that your safety is at stake in case of a missile attack if you didn’t know this:
According to U.S. Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency, the USA is safe. The advanced technology system, that has cost the US $40 million and has taken decades to perfect, is named Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD).
GMD is a part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and it’s designed to destroy limited intermediate-range and long-range ballistic missile threats in space to protect the US.
This system is in no way simple, as it is made up of a few advanced technology elements that serve particular purposes and work together to achieve the desired results.
The system is 24/7 active and prepared for any potential attacks. As the Missile Defense Agency states, the components communicate through the GMD communications network, which is a secure data and voice communication system that uses SATCOM and fiber-optic cabling for long haul communications.
How does the GMD work?
The purpose of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense is to intercept ballistic missiles mid-way in space.
Once the globally deployed sensors detect a missile threat, the Ground Support & Fire Control System receives data about the location and the trajectory of the missile. This system receives data from satellites and ground-based radars and uses that data to task and support the Ground-Based Interceptors.
The Ground-Based Interceptor is a multi-stage, solid fuel booster that carries a crucial element of the mission: the Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV).
The Kill Vehicle weighs 150 pounds and is made up of more than 1,000 components. It contains no explosives, but uses the mere kinetic force (or the force of movement) of the collision with the intercepted missile to trigger the blast in space.
Once in space, the Kill Vehicle is guided by data sent by the Ground Support & Fire Control System components and its on-board sensors. Its final destination is the missile and the detonation from the collision happens space, thus preventing the missile from ever re-entering the atmosphere.
There is a total of 36 Ground-Based Interceptors emplaced in the USA. Their locations are at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The whole system is operated by Warfighters of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion at Fort Greely, Alaska, and the 100th Missile Defense Brigade at Colorado Springs, Colorado. These two bases are in charge of the fire control, battle management, planning, tasking and threat analysis.
The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense has been proven to be effective in a number of successful flight tests and three tests that included the Ground-based Interceptors.
The video below shows flight test FTG-06a done by the Missile Defense Agency and the Ground-based Missile Defense Office.
The Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA)
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