- By Brad Amburn
An "Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle," the literal spearhead of the planned U.S. national missile defense system, collides with hostile missiles at a leisurely 16,000 miles per hour — one of the many data nuggets that discerning browsers can cull from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization’s (BMDO) Web site.
Launched by the Pentagon in 1996 to educate (and sell) the public on ballistic missile defense, the site features fact sheets with background information on U.S. missile defense, as well as an overview of potential threats — Iraq, for instance, which according to the BMDO could have the capability to drop a several-hundred kilogram payload on the United States sometime in the next decade.
One highlight is a timeline that chronicles the historical and technological milestones in Washington’s missile defense program; it reveals, for instance, that the idea of missile defense was born in 1945, after U.S. government officials visited a decimated Europe. And a collection of photos shows missiles in action. Some of the pictures are blurry, but others, like the shot of a Patriot missile at the point of interception, are spectacular.