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Missile Defense Flight Test Successfully Completed

07-NEWS-0028
21 March 2007

Lt. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering, Missile Defense Agency director, today announced the successful execution of an important test involving the tracking of a long-range target missile by radars that are being incorporated into the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

The target missile was launched today from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. at 9:27 pm PDT March 20 (12:27 am EDT March 21). The target was successfully tracked by the Sea-Based X-band (SBX) radar and two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ships using onboard SPY-1 radar. The Missile Defense Agency is developing and deploying an extensive network of land and sea-based radars to detect and track all types of ballistic missiles and to provide targeting information to interceptor missiles through the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communication (C2BMC) system.

A primary focus of this system test was to assess the execution and functionality of various BMDS Engagement Sequence Groups. An Engagement Sequence Group identifies the combination of weapons and sensors that work together to detect, track and intercept an enemy missile. During the test, target tracking data from the SBX radar was successfully transmitted to the C2BMC system and the Ground-based Midcourse Defense fire control system at the Joint National Integration Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. While no live interceptor missiles were launched, a weapon task plan (intercept solution) was generated and simulated interceptor missiles were “launched” from Fort Greely, Alaska using performance data from previous interceptor launches. Similarly, Aegis ships tracked the target missile and performed a simulated engagement using a simulated Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor missile.

The largest radar of its type, the SBX is designed to track and discriminate small objects in space, which makes it especially effective for missile defense. It provides very accurate information to help direct ground and sea-based interceptor missiles in a position to collide directly with an in-coming missile warhead for a “hit to kill” intercept to destroy the warhead before it reaches its target in the United States with a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon.

Participants from the ballistic missile defense operational community included the Operational Test Agencies, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Strategic Command. The test provided a significant opportunity for warfighters from Combatant Commands to practice and refine tactics, techniques and procedures to defend the United States.

Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test. Flight test results will help to further improve and refine the performance of numerous BMDS elements that will be used to provide a defense against the type of long-range ballistic missile that could be used to attack an American city with a weapon of mass destruction.

News media point of contact is Rick Lehner, Missile Defense Agency, at (703) 697-8997 or richard.lehner@mda.mil



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