U.S. Markets closed

Pentagon aims to replace Raytheon missile defense interceptor

WASHINGTON, March 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department's fiscal 2015 budget includes $8.5 billion in funding for missile defense programs and reaffirms the Obama administration's plan to build 14 additional ground-based interceptors by 2017.

The budget request, which must still be approved by Congress, includes $99.5 million for design of a new common "kill vehicle," the top part of the ground-based interceptor that hits and destroys an incoming enemy missile on contact.

The new kill vehicle would eventually replace the current kill vehicle built by Raytheon Co, which has suffered several test failures, the Pentagon said in budget documents. It did not spell out which kill vehicle would be used on the 14 new interceptors to be built.