The need to consolidate a multitude of existing short-range, lightweight space-combat focused missiles carried by strike-craft was recognised during early years of the UAS Federal Navy's operational capacity. Existing designs from the Old Federal era incorporated a variety of different payloads and roles for different craft, increasing the complexity of manufacturing and distribution. The New Federal Era would call for a standardisation of Multi-role guided ordnance that could be easily fitted to the Navy's existing DSF430 Deep Space Fighters in order to address almost any threat that would be expected of the craft in Navy doctrine.
Such uses included being fast and agile enough to be used in a Space-Superiority capacity against other Deep Space Fighters, and carrying a large enough payload to be used in a limited anti-ship capacity against larger vessels, such as Corvettes and Frigates. The UAS Naval R&D department eventually created a universal missile concept that would replace the existing SCM-8A (Space Combat Missile) in use by the UTN Navy in the Old Federal Era for more than 500 cycles prior. The New design was named MPM-9 'Kingfisher' (Multi-Purpose Missile) Series 9.
Drawing from lessons learned of the long-serving S/M/L Launch system using configurable Hornet missiles for larger warships, the Kingfisher is able to be configured with a variety of different payload types and mobility packages in order to suit a specific scenario, but maintains excellent all-purpose capability in the default configuration; allowing Wing Commanders increased flexibility on a limited number of pylons on the fleet's Deep Space Fighters.
The missile is similar in capability to the Hornet-S short-range missile used by the S/M/L launch system but optimised for launch from highly mobile strike-craft launch platforms. Like the Hornet-S, the Kingfisher is equipped with a Multi-Spectrum Active Sensors guidance system incorporating Full-Spectrum visible light Image Recognition, Space-Density Distortion and directed MLADAR/RADAR tracking. The targeting computer can use all of these systems simultaneously in order to guide the projectile to its target, with several layers of redundancy depending on the conditions within the missile is fired.
The mobility package utilised a magnetic thrust-vectoring system that directs the missiles fixed-capacity, single-stage Fission Impulse Nuclear Drive along four lateral zones that actively allows it to change course. This prevents the need for additional gas-propulsion actuators, saving space and weight. The single-stage nuclear drive ignites immediately upon launch, giving the missile excellent acceleration. In order to prevent "burn out" of the launch platform's pylons, the vectoring system diverts fission energy away from the hull for a few seconds during which the missile stabilises from the launch system. During launch, the pylon actively repulses the missile downward with a compressed gas igniter, preventing damage to the craft.
Despite the high speed, Kingfisher has a respectable turning circle due to the magnetic thrust vectoring, and can effective fly side-ways to about 45 degrees to adjust course, giving it excellent target tracking capability.
The Warhead compartment allows for the installation of a variety of different payloads, from Low-yield nuclear impulse, to Space-Burst Fragmentation for use against fighters, to shield-busting electromagnetic discharge payloads. The standard payload for the highest flexibility of the MPM-9 system is a space-burst fragmentation warhead with a shaped charge stage using a limited nuclear fission charge to penetrate armour. The First stage penetrator is triggered on close proximity to the nose-cone or direct contact (hence the stand-off on the missile). Depending on how the missile is configured by the launch platform, the second stage space-burst fragmentation component can be activated after contact or in a much larger radius proximity fuse for use against agile threats that are unviable to achieve a direct hit on.
The MPM-9 has recieved several upgrades during its service since the transition to the Imperial Era in 4404 A.D, resulting in many improvements to range and payload capacity though the basic design has remained relatively consistent, much like the S/M/L system.