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Proven Missile Defense Update: Another Successful Test

Posted by rightwinger on December 8, 2008

The military’s missile defense system works.  Let’s hope Obama keeps the program since it is proven to work.

A ballistic missile launched from Alaska is shot down by an interceptor launched from California. With threats from North Korea to Iran, it’s time to ignore the skeptics and fully fund missile defense.

It was the most realistic and most successful missile defense test ever in a Strategic Defense Initiative that could one day save an American city from a rogue missile strike. Yet the “yeah, but” media greeted this triumph with claims the concept is still unproven. It was as if the Wright brothers had announced man’s first flight, only to be greeted with cries that they hadn’t built a 747.

The Missile Defense Agency reported that a target missile was launched Friday afternoon from Kodiak, Alaska, to simulate the speed and trajectory of a North Korean missile launch. While in flight, it was tracked by several land-based radars in Alaska, and at Beale Air Force Base outside Sacramento, Calif., as well as X-band radar aboard Aegis warships at sea.

Data from five different sensors were processed and fed to the ground-based interceptor, which was launched five minutes later from the Ronald W. Wilson Missile Defense site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California. The GBI’s exo-atmospheric kill vehicle was carried into the calculated trajectory of the target missile, which it then identified and killed.

Read the full article

Of this brilliant success, a subheadline in the Los Angeles Times sniffed: “The Pentagon declares it a success, though decoy ‘countermeasures’ failed to deploy in the encounter over the Pacific Ocean.” CNN.com chipped in with: “Decoy fails to deploy, but missile test called ‘success.’

This week, Boeing and the Missile Defense Agency announced another successful test — the first ground test of the entire weapon system integrated aboard the aircraft, including the firing of a high-energy laser through the ABL beam control/fire control system. Earlier tests had unit-tested other components of the system, particularly the ability to find, track and target missiles in flight.

Last July, a YAL-1A took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California and actively acquired, tracked and targeted a simulated ballistic missile.

It used its infrared sensors and a tracking laser to zero in on a “target board” aboard another aircraft, firing its two solid-state illuminator lasers at the NC-135E “Big Crow” test aircraft to verify the ABL’s ability to track an airborne target and compensate for atmospheric turbulence.

On Sept. 7, the COIL was successfully fired for the first time. Missile defense supporter Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said that test was “proof positive that this weapon system is no longer the stuff of science fiction — it is scientific fact.”

A test intercept of an actual in-flight ballistic missile is set for early 2009, unless a Democratic Congress and a President Obama, both hostile to missile defense, shoot down the program first.

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2 Responses to “Proven Missile Defense Update: Another Successful Test”

  1. McKittrick said

    Not to get too picky after this landmark intercept, but it wasn’t just the Air Force’s success.

    MDA is an inter-agency Pentagon dept. and this test really showed how much so: two Navy Aegis ships and the large SBX floating radar, one tactical Army radar, one large strategic Air Force radar, a constellation of Air Force satellites, and one honkin’ Army interceptor missile launched from an AFB but remotely fired by Alaskan National Guardsmen that killed the inbound ICBM. Whew.

    This was the first time all of these assets worked seamlessly together, and intercept or not, that coordination is a remarkable success all by itself.

    Anyway, it’s all good!

    • rightwinger said

      Thanks for the info. I use to be in the Air Force, so I guess I’m a little biased. I want to stay up on this especially since Obama said he would cut unproven missile defense systems. I wonder what he will do now that they are proven to work.

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