US MDA’s Project Hercules: Hydra-Killer?

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(click to view full) One of the hard problems in missile defense is how to deal with decoys. By the time most ABMs are launched, a MIRV (Multiple, Independent Re-entry Vehicle) missile will have split into its component warheads. The thing is, modern ICBMS have space for more MIRVs than they carry due to treaties et. al. It’s easier, and cheaper to put a few decoy MIRVs in the missile than it is to build a new interceptor to counter each MIRV. You could MIRV the kill vehicles, but that’s not yet an option with smaller missiles. The other way to fight this multi-headed hydra, of course, is to get really proficient at figuring out which objects are decoys. Enter the US Missile Defense Agency’s Project Hercules, a national effort to develop related algorithms and battle management concepts. Robust detection, tracking, and discrimination algorithms useful against targets in all phases of flight; a physics-based decision architecture that applies advanced decision theory to future Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System Command, Control; and Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) concepts are all involved. MDA says it “Focuses national expertise on discrimination for the benefit of all BMD System elements,” and the algorithms et. al., […]

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