Mississippi State University Helping Guide Future of Sea-Based Missile Defense

University Relations

News Bureau (662) 325-3442

Contact: Robbie Ward

April 23, 2009

STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State's ongoing research into sea-based missile defense interceptors is giving the Defense Department greater flexibility to deal with a variety of international threats.

That was the assessment of leading public and private sector experts gathering recently at the university to assess missile defense following eight years of unprecedented federal support.

MSU's computational simulation and design group at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (www.cavs.msstate.edu) uses their research expertise to assist the Northrop Grumman Corp. prepare future missile defense systems for deployment aboard ships and submarines. The campus conference, titled "Missile Defense Research and Development--Technology and Public Policy," sought to highlight advances in research focused on missile defense systems.

The conference was co-sponsored by the land-grant institution and the California-based aerospace and defense technology company.

"Our role is to provide simulation data and technology that will help Northrop Grumman design the most accurate and robust systems possible," said Dave Marcum, CAVS chief scientist.

The center's research on ship-based kinetic energy interceptors "will be crucial in determining next steps for more flexible and affordable missile defenses for deployed troops and allies," he added.

MSU researchers are using high-speed computer simulations to predict fluids flow, particularly related to such complications as simultaneous heat flow, combustion or other interactions.

The goal of KEI, the type of missile defense system on which the CAVS work is focused, is to hit a "bullet"--an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile, for instance--with a "kill vehicle" or warhead shot. Such a super-quick rocket has the highest acceleration booster ever developed by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

In addition to its high acceleration and maneuverability, KEI measures only about 40 feet long and 40 inches in diameter. This relatively compact size gives military planners many options about how and where to use it, whether on land or from warships.

"Modeling and simulation is critical to meeting the challenge of taking KEI to sea," said Anthony Spehar, Northrop Grumman's KEI vice president and program manager. "The full weapon system for KEI depends on accurate sea-basing requirements, accommodations and information."

Northrop Grumman has provided more than $850,000 in research funding to MSU since 2005 for detailed platform analysis. The company uses data generated from MSU's research to assess various platforms and launch scenarios for KEI sea-based applications.

Conference speakers included U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper; Tony Spehar, William Williston, and Ronald Pipes of Northrop Grumman Corporation, Tom Richardson of the Missile and Space Intelligence Center, Jeff Kueter of the George C. Marshall Institute; Riki Ellison of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance; and David Trachtenberg of the National Institute for Public Policy.

Both Wicker and Harper voiced strong support for continuing missile defense research efforts such as those at MSU.

"We need multiple opportunities to destroy a long-range ballistic missile," Wicker said. "It's especially important to destroy these missiles over the launching country."

For more information, contact Debbie McBride at 662-325-9333 or dmcbride@hpc.msstate.edu or Bob Bishop at (310) 251-0261 or bob.j.bishop@ngc.com.

For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.


Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS 39762 Main Telephone: 1-662-325-2323 Customer Service Emergencies Legal Page Maintainer

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Comment by Jeff on April 24, 2009 at 1:45pm
All the Universities, well many of them, are heavily involved in government military programs

"Destroying the New World Order"

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