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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Missile Defense Test Successful

A Missile Defense Agency interceptor missile was successfully launched on Dec. 5, at 12:21 p.m. from North Vandenberg, California. The launch was part of an exercise and flight test involving the intercept of an intercontinental ballistic missile by a ground-based interceptor missile designed to protect the United States against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack, according to a report from the SAF 30th Space Wing. [Video] and [Foto]

Launch of the Orbital Sciences Corporation designed FTG-05 was programmed to simulate a missile attack by North Korea or Iran on the United States. The offensive missile launch test occured from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska. The interceptor defense missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California thereafter.

Reports from The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, the BBC, and raw video 1 and video 2 from WSBY-TV6 provide more detail and reaction. Ten operational missile defense interceptors are expected to be deployed in Poland in 2011, if approved by President-elect Obama. More from Stars and Stripes.


Kodiak Rocket Launch Information Group said...

How Do We Define Success?

Today a rocket launched from Kodiak was intercepted by a rocket launched from Vandenburg AFB in California. As the champagne celebratory haze clears, keep a few things in mind:

1. It wasn't a resounding "success": According to Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, head of the Missile Defense Agency, "...the target did not release planned countermeasures designed to try to confuse the interceptor missile. O'Reilly did not say what those countermeasures were, but they often include decoys or chaff to throw off shoot-down attempts." Apparently the technology to shoot down a real enemy missile which would have countermeasures is not yet working.

2.It wasn't a truly realistic test: The "test" was very tightly controlled - everybody knew when the interceptor would be launched and its probable path (they've launched targets from KLC before). One wonders what would happen if they actually had to scramble an interceptor with no prior warning. Now that would be a true test.

3. If the U.S. can't launch an ICBM that works the way it should, why do we think other countries can? Neither North Korea or Iran has ever successfully fired a missile that had any chance of landing anywhere near the U.S. Right now, if North Korea got really lucky, they might be able to hit the tip of the Aleutians. We are sure the folks out there appreciate the expenditure of ten billion dollars a year to help them sleep more soundly.

4. It's ALL about the money: Roughly $10 billion is spent per year on the program, which is run by defense contractor Boeing Co. but includes work by most of the nation's largest weapons makers. It is spread across three branches of the military and is composed of missiles, radar and satellites designed to intercept missiles during different stages of flight.

5. Fortunately, President-elect Barack Obama expressed skepticism about the capabilities of the system during his campaign, leading to speculation he may reduce the program's scope. Russia has strongly objected to plans to install missile interceptors in Eastern Europe.

6. At least the true character of the KLC has finally been admitted. According to the AP: "WASHINGTON - The Defense Department said today it shot down a missile launched from a military base in Alaska..."

7. Finally, Kodiak desperately needs a new high school and a new police station and jail. Our roads are a mess and infrastructure in Kodiak, Alaska and all across the United States is crumbling. Take a drive down Mission Road past the Salvation Army and ask yourself: Is Missile Defense worth it? Friday's test cost between $120 million to $150 million.

R2K said...

So sad. A bunch of staged tests and really easy tests does not prove anything. This system can work, but it is really really hard. The decoy advantage is huge: you can always change up decoys, and do it more quickly than people can redesign an ABM system. Give me 50 gallons of aluminum chaff and a few mylar balloons filled with heated mineral oil... and I bet I can defeat this system.

Why cant we simply use a Sprint - Spartan system? I am confused why we stopped using Enhanced Radiation warheads to take out RVs? They are far more effective and reliable.