Shooting down enemy air threats--whether they're ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, or aircraft--is a tactical problem that leaves little room for error. The targets move fast and must be verifiably, catastrophically, destroyed. An incoming missile hit and broken into pieces by an air defense missile can be as dangerous as one that lands intact. The Iraqi Scud missile that killed so many American troops at their Saudi base during the 1991 Gulf War is sad evidence of that risk--it had apparently been hit by a Patriot missile on its way down, but its warhead functioned on impact nonetheless. So the Navy's goal in improving the effectiveness of its air defense warheads is to enable them to inflict enough damage on an incoming missile to destroy it at a safe distance.
The above story is based on materials provided by Office Of Naval Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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