TECH
01/02/2016 13:08 GMT | Updated 01/02/2016 13:59 GMT

U.S. Military Test Tiny 'Kill Vehicles' To Destroy Incoming Nuclear Missiles

The US military have successfully tested a "kill vehicle" aimed to take down enemy missiles.

According to the Daily Mail, officials at a military base in central California were testing an "Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle."

During the test, officials used a target, representing a missile, launched from an Air Force plane over the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii.

kill vehicle

The interceptor then released the kill vehicle, which used thrusters to manoeuvre itself towards the target.

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According to missilethreat.com, an "Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle is a small flying device located in the tip of a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missile.

"It is designed to separate from the GBI in flight, punch through the Earth’s atmosphere, and smash into an incoming ballistic missile in its midcourse phase..."

Each vehicle costs between around $25 million (£17 million) and contains infrared sensors it uses to detect its target.

When it is approximately 1,400 miles from its target the "kill vehicle" separates from its GBI.

It will then veer sharply to the right or left to "avoid being hit by the booster," missilethreat.com reports.

Around 100 seconds before impact, the infrared sensors switch on to track the incoming missile.