VSL:SCIENCE // Our new (absolutely insane) missile-defense system

When the Missile Defense Agency YouTubed a video of a prototype multiple-kill vehicle, defense geeks went bonkers. See it yourself and you’ll understand why.

The MKV is a frightening, hovering, trash-can-size robot that’s designed to counter today’s ballistic missiles — the kind that release multiple “threat clusters” containing warheads, decoys, and other obstructive countermeasures. The idea is to fit up to 20 inside a single antiballistic missile and deploy them to take out incoming threat clusters. The devices are set to test in 2009, when the agency plans to send some up in an antiballistic missile to intercept simulated arrays; in the meantime, we’d guess that the video itself may exert a deterrent effect.

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VSL:SCIENCE // Our new (absolutely insane) missile-defense system