Kinetic Energy Interceptor
SM-3 (left) compared to Kinetic Energy Interceptor (right)
TypeMobile Ballistic Missile Defense System
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In serviceDevelopment canceled
Production history
DesignerNorthrop Grumman, Raytheon Missile Systems, Orbital, ATK
Length466 in (11.8 m)
Diameter40 in (1.0 m)

Enginesolid fuel rocket

The Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) was a planned U.S. missile defense program whose goal was to design, develop, and deploy kinetic energy-based, mobile, ground and sea-launched missiles that could intercept and destroy enemy ballistic missiles during their boost, ascent and midcourse phases of flight.[1] The KEI consisted of the Interceptor Component (kinetic projectile), the Mobile Launcher Component, and the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) component.

On 7 May 2009, the KEI program was canceled due primarily to financial reasons.

First stage rocket motor tests

There were five first-stage rocket motor tests planned to be carried out by Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in Promontory, Utah.[2]

The second test firing of a KEI first stage rocket motor was conducted on 14 June 2007. The static firing included a full duration burn and a demonstration of the thrust vector control nozzle.[3][4]

The fourth test firing of the first-stage rocket motor was completed on November 13, 2008. The test demonstrated a successful operation of the first-stage rocket motor in its final flight configuration that was to be used during a Summer 2009 flight test. Due to the cancellation of KEI in May 2009, this test did not occur.[5]

Some KEI program implementation and funding history

On 7 May 2009, Missile Defense Agency executive director David Altwegg announced that KEI would be canceled due to technical and financial reasons. The announcement had previously been overlooked during Defense Secretary Robert Gates' April 6 press conference on changing priorities in the FY10 defense budget.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Kinetic Energy Interceptor Program" (PDF). Northrop Grumman. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-08.
  2. ^ "KEI Team verify flight configuration of First Stage Rocket Motor Components". Globe Newswire. Archived from the original on 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  3. ^ "MDA Conducts Successful Test of Rocket Motor for Next Generation Interceptor Missile" (PDF). MDA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
  4. ^ "Program Images Library". MDA. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
  5. ^ "KEI team completes Stage 1 rocket motor test". Raytheon Missile Systems.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "MDA Request Kills KEI, Focuses on Ascent Phase". Defense News.[dead link]