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US successfully tests improved missile defence system and multi-stage separation

12th December 2023 - 09:12 GMT | by Damian Kemp in London

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The GMD test-firing took place at Vandenberg AFB on 11 December. (Photo: MDA)

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system has been deployed in multiple locations as the first and only operational missile defence system to defend the US against intermediate and long-range ballistic missile attacks.

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully demonstrated an improved interceptor capability for the GMD system on 11 December which included launching a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) into space with a three-stage booster in two-stage mode.

With three-stage booster/two-stage mode, the GBI was able to release the kill vehicle sooner in flight, providing an earlier opportunity to intercept and defeat a missile threat.

The new capability, made possible through digital system modelling software upgrades, has offered operators the real-time choice between a two-stage or three-stage interceptor, depending on the threat’s location and speed.

The stage mode determines when the kill vehicle will

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Damian Kemp

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Damian Kemp


Damian Kemp has worked in the defence media for 25 years covering military aircraft, defence …

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