The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle protects the U.S. against long-range ballistic missile attacks by slamming into and destroying incoming threats while they are still in space, safely outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
The EKV, built by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, seeks out its target using multi-color sensors, a cutting-edge, onboard computer, and a rocket motor that helps it steer in space. It guides to the target and, with pinpoint precision, destroys it using nothing more than the force of a massive collision. No traditional warhead is necessary.
The program was named a finalist for Aviation Week’s Supply Chain Design and Development award, in part for its use of the Agile software development method.
“Through Agile development, the team focused on addressing the most critical capability enhancements and software improvements, solving difficult problems through incremental solutions, continuously tested against evolving threats,” senior program director Roy Donelson said. “Additionally, by using Agile predictive metrics, such as Team Velocity, Story Point Burn-up and Cumulative Value Flow, the Team was able to increase productivity by identifying and removing roadblocks and inefficiencies.”
The ability to see and avoid other aircraft is one of the cornerstones of aviation safety and air traffic management in the National Airspace System. With unmanned aerial systems, it becomes challenging to conduct flight maneuvers beyond visual line of sight without ground observers, chase planes or technology capable of detection.
To solve that problem, Raytheon Intelligence & Space has developed GBDAA SkyVision, a capability for the Ground-Based Detect and Avoid system the business originally built for the U.S. Air Force. SkyVision uses FAA-certified air traffic management automation to comply with the agency’s “see and avoid” rules. The SkyVision project took that capability and housed it within a mobile recreational vehicle, enabling it to travel to wherever it’s needed – essentially, wherever drones happen to be flying.
The team was named a finalist for Aviation Week’s Special Projects award, an acknowledgment of both the novel problem the team is solving, and its collaboration with multiple stakeholders including the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center, the U.S. Air Force, the Ohio Department of Transportation, MITRE Corporation and the FAA.
“The SkyVision team proved that through extraordinary collaboration, holding safety as sacrosanct, applying certified ground-based technology with innovative enhancements can empower government and industry’s ability to move forward with efforts to embrace and safely integrate UAS during this newest and most exciting age of aviation in history,” said Jack McAuley, director of air traffic systems automation for Raytheon Intelligence & Space.
Like the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, the SM-3 interceptor destroys its targets with sheer impact, only this time those targets are short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. It’s the only ballistic missile interceptor that can be launched from sea, with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, or land, using the Aegis Ashore Weapon System.
The program won Aviation Week's Original Equipment Manufacturer Production award, in part because the team rallied around a clear production goal: “52 + 4,” or 52 planned missile deliveries in 2019, with an additional four.
“One of the things that make the SM-3 BLK IB program unique is the people that work on it and the passion they share for the BLK IB missile and its mission to protect our country and allies,” program director Sharon Walk said. “These individuals have varied skillsets, backgrounds, locations and perspectives that all contribute to the multifaceted approach to completing tasks and solving problems.”