Frequently Asked Questions
|Proposed European Assets|
|2006 Strategic Intent (pdf)|
What is the Missile Defense Agency?
MDA is an agency under the Department of Defense. Its mission is to develop, test and prepare for deployment a missile defense system. Using complementary interceptors, land-, sea- air- and space-based sensors and battle management command and control systems, the planned missile defense system will be able to engage all classes and ranges of ballistic missile threats. Our programmatic strategy is to develop, rigorously test and continuously evaluate production, deployment and operational alternatives for the ballistic missile defense system to provide emerging warfighting capability.
How does missile defense work?
Missile defense systems being developed and tested by MDA are primarily based on hit-to-kill technology. Instead of an explosive warhead, hit-to-kill relies on a very high closing speed to collide with and destroy its target using only kinetic energy - the force of the collision to pulverize the target warhead. It has been described as hitting a bullet with a bullet - a capability that has been successfully demonstrated in test after test. Another approach is used by the Airborne Laser, which uses directed energy to destroy its target. MDA is developing systems to intercept incoming missiles in all phases of flight to include boost, midcourse and terminal. This layered approach will allow for multiple engagements and prevent the incoming missile from reaching its target.
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