How can one country prevent a missile attack from another country? The answer to the question will help to explain how an advanced missile defense system functions.
An advanced missile defense system consists of ground-based radars, interceptor missiles, and satellite sensors. The radars and sensors track the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) after their launch and throughout their flight. Afterward, the interceptor missiles collide and destroy the incoming missiles.
However, the advanced missile defense system faces a challenge when destroying targets during a test run. It can also not manage countermeasures, which are the issues from the management techniques and the missile defense technology operation.
The Basics of a Missile Attack
A missile enters a boost phase after getting fired from a rocket at high speed. It travels in the atmosphere in free-fall. Afterward, the warhead separates from the missile during the mid-course phase. The warhead travels unpowered and unguided in the atmosphere. Finally, the warhead descends at high speed during the terminal or re-entry phase.
The advanced missile defense intercepts ICBMs during the mid-course phase. The intercepting missiles come from the ground-based mid-course defense (GMD) rockets.
The Defense Process
The infrared satellite sensors detect the tell-tale heat signature that a rocket produces after launching a missile. Afterward, the sensors transfer the tracking to the radar systems to verify the trajectory of the rocket.
After the analysis of the information, the missile defense agency prepares the intercepting missile and launches them.
Features of an Intercepting Missile
An intercepting missile features a three-stage booster rocket and a “kill vehicle.” The kill vehicle travels separately after separating from the last booster. It uses its sensors to view its target after getting at the intercept point.
Subsequently, it uses its small thrusters to amend its direction. Finally, it tracks and collides with the target warhead. Notably, an intercepting missile relies on collision rather than explosives.
The Importance of an Advanced Missile Defense System
The missile defense system seeks to save lives and prevent the destruction of property and infrastructure. Additionally, it deters missile attacks.
The Video below is a U.S Missile Defence System in action: