MR. BACON: This briefing is on background, attributable to a senior Defense official. He will be able to take your questions, obviously on the upcoming test, but also on the story in the New York Times today. As you look at that story or ask questions about it, I remind you to keep one thing in mind: The test succeeded; the target was hit.
(Courtesy title omitted)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Good morning. I am -- (briefer's name and position and organization omitted).
QBut you're a senior military --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: But I am a senior military official -- (laughter) -- for a few more months anyway. (Laughter.)
I am here this morning to give you a background -- on the upcoming national missile defense test, which we refer to IFT-4, Integrated Flight Test No. 4. This is a fourth in our series of flight tests, but this is our second attempt to try to do an actual intercept of an ICBM-class target.
While this test is like the last test, in this test we will again try to demonstrate the ability of the exoatmospheric kill vehicle, or EKV, to intercept the target. This will be the first time we will begin integrating other elements of the NMD system into the actual test scenario.
We'll be using the space-based sensors and ground-based radars to gather information on the target, which will be transmitted to the kill vehicle, to the command-and-control centers at the test site at Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean and the Joint National Test Facility in Colorado Springs.
This test is going to be significantly more complex than the October test, but it will help us learn about collecting and processing target information and getting that information to the kill vehicle to help it conduct the intercept.
This is a real-time test designed to increase our knowledge and level of confidence with regard to the individual elements, as well as the abilities of those individual elements to function as a system.
As most of you probably know or remember, the kill vehicle is the bullet of the weapon system in the NMD architecture. Using a hit-to-kill concept, it destroys a target using only kinetic energy or the force of impact. In this case, the force of impact is the collision at about 15,000 miles an hour. This test is and will be compliant with our international commitments, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
In the test program, we have many, many objectives. We have several more on this test than we did the last one. But as far as the primary objectives, we are looking at, as in integrated flight test 3, we want to evaluate the kill vehicle's deployment and orientation. This is a developmental kill vehicle, and we need to continue to build our confidence in its capabilities and reliability.
What we want to demonstrate is how well it performs its on-board discrimination and target selection, its ability to acquire and track a target; and finally, once it gets in the end-game, its ability to maneuver and collide with the target.
In addition, as I alluded to earlier, we want to demonstrate the ability of the space-based sensors and ground-based radars to detect and acquire a simulated threat, perform a system track, and discriminate using the prototype ground-based x-band radar at Kwajalein.
The other primary objective for this test which is different from the other test is our desire to demonstrate our Battle Management Command and Control and Communication systems, BMC3. The BMC3 is the nerve center, or brains, if you would, of the system. It receives the information it gathers from the space-based sensors, from the radars that I mentioned earlier. It processes this information and then it sets up the engagement, and then it provides real-time data communications directed to the weapon while it flies out.
The reason we do all this, we have all these objectives, what as material developer, what we're looking for is the information we get out of these tests. We have an objective to collect the data so we can perform extensive post-test analysis to see how well the system and the individual elements worked as part of the integrated system.
I mentioned the objectives. The sequence that we will go through for our Integrated Flight Test 4 is, in the beginning there will be a simulated NMD target missile threat launched out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It will be flying a ballistic trajectory towards the Kwajalein missile range, which is about 4,300 miles away. Upon launch, it will be detected by our space sensors, our DSP, our Defense Support Program, and the information about the missile -- its speed, its trajectory and its probable impact point -- will be transmitted to the BMC3 system, in this case the one in Colorado. This warning will then be provided to the rest of the system, allowing the ground-based radars to then acquire the target and provide more precise target information and, hopefully, telling us what is a threat and what is not.
This information will then be processed by the BMC3, sent to the BMC3 center out at Kwaj [Kwajalein Atoll], and then it will be uploaded as data into the interceptor. About 20 minutes after the target takes off, we will launch the interceptor from the Kwajalein missile range in the Pacific Ocean. About 2-1/2 minutes later, the kill vehicle will separate from its booster, but just prior to that separation, the kill vehicle receives its final data update on target information from the BMC3. This test is designed to meet the prototype ground-based x-band radar at Kwaj and to be the principal sensor to provide that data.
At separation, the kill vehicle will still be about 1,400 miles away from the target, and then it begins a set of maneuvers to calibrate its sensors.
After it's calibrated, the kill vehicle will try to find the real target, acquire the target, and guide itself to the target without any external guidance or communications. These steps will begin a little less than six minutes into the flight.
When the kill vehicle begins its terminal guidance phase, it will actually select a main point on the target. If you would, it tries to pick out a bull's eye, and then it will maneuver itself on a collision course and then attempt to do this, as I mentioned earlier, at a closing speed of about 15,000 miles an hour, and the altitude will be in excess of 120 miles.
I mentioned the scenario. I talked to it rather simplistically. The one thing I would like to impress is, this is hard to do. This is a complex test. There are a lot of elements, a lot of players that have to communicate and coordinate in real time, and if you add -- in less than 30 minutes. We want to be confident in our data collection, because we need the data to see how well we performed, but our purpose for this test, as with all our tests, is to try to learn and build from our test experience.
This flight coming up is the next step in a progressive test program to get progressively more complex and challenging, and to take place over the next several years. Success in this and the following flight test will increase our confidence in NMD systems. That's what they're intended to do, and in our definition, a success is that we learn something from the test.
And with that, I will open it up for any questions.
QI would like to know more about what you have in that warhead. Or could you tell us, do you have something that approximates a nuclear weapon? And then secondly, when this hit occurs, what are the physics? What is actually happening? And can you then go back after the test and confirm that you have reduced the target to something that is non-lethal, et cetera? What can you tell me?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay, let me see if I could. I think the question you just asked me was, is the RV [reentry vehicle] instrumented -- the simulated RV instrumented to determine the lethality of the hit? I'm rephrasing your question.
QThat would be one, and then --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay. The answer's no.
QOkay. And the second was, do you have a dummy warhead that approximates some kind of a nuclear warhead, so that you can -- can you afterwards tell what had happened to the RV?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes. Let me -- this is our second flight test. Remember the progressively more complex -- in the case of this test, we're going after, simply speaking, mass.
No, we do not have a replicated weapon of mass destruction in this RV. Our objective -- end objective is, can we hit it?
The lethality program on how do you convince yourself that you actually killed it once you hit it will be in objectives for follow-on tests.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes, sir?
QHow many decoys are you going to use? Just one?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: This setup is a simulated reentry vehicle and one large balloon.
QWell, where does the balloon -- is the balloon already in space? Where does it come from? Not from the, from the warhead?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Ah, got a picture of it. The Minuteman, when it kicks off the RV, simulated RV, the post-boost vehicle also kicks off the large balloon.
Yes, ma'am --
QIt would be like a MIRV, too. It would be like a MIRV missile.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: This test is designed to have at least two objects up there. Remember, one of the objectives of the program is the ability to discriminate not only what is a possible threat, but what is not.
QOn back -- how different does the balloon look to the EKV? Is it much cooler than the actual target? Is it moving slower?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: It is -- no, this is only a ballistic trajectory. The speed's about the same. It's a matter of how is it kicked off.
Is it a different signature than the RV? Yes. Whether it's hotter or colder, I'd prefer not to go into that.
QCould you explain the first test? That one was simply just to prove an intercept was possible, right?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: "Simply" is such a hard word. That was a tough test last time. We have many objectives, many elements that we exercised in the last time.
Endgame: Yeah, can we hit it.
QIn that one, though, your EKV knew the target basket of where the target was going to be?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The same way in this case. Remember the update that it's getting? The information that comes from the sensors -- the numbers are crunched by the BMC3. It tells the interceptor where it thinks the target complex is going to be.
QThe BMC3 used in the last test?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: No.
QSo that's -- I'm trying to get what's different from --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Right. What's different from this time is the NMD BMC3 system is actually crunching those numbers.
QAnd last time how did it get a --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Last time it was software. We programmed it to go. Now we told it, but we didn't use our BMC3, if you would, to crunch the numbers and do the war plan and then do the update.
QSo this will be a real-time update --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes, ma'am.
Q-- finding of the target and then translating that to the EKV?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes, ma'am.
QAnd last time it was pre-programmed?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Basically, yes, ma'am.
QBut not only with one decoy -- is this different or easier than a real-life situation? But since the balloon has a different signature than a normal decoy would -- a normal decoy would look like a regular RV -- it makes it much easier than a real-life situation, right?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Stated the way -- the way -- the discrimination? Yes --
QIs easier? We have different --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The system is being designed against a rogue, unsophisticated threat. Okay. Is it easier? You know, I'm a little sensitive because -- I'm telling you, all of this is hard. What we want the EKV to do is the test objectives -- and that's what it is, the test objectives -- and to learn and get smarter and make it more complex as we go on. But can it discriminate? Does it have the smarts to discriminate and say that yes, that is an RV or no, that is not an RV?
There's -- remember, on the last test there was also another object up there it had to discriminate against, being the post-boost vehicle.
QThis is the first time DSP is being used, and can you -- I believe. And can you explain how it's going to provide target updates if the flight were -- if it --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay. DSP [Defense Support Program] was actually exercised in the last test. It's already up there. DSP is the IR [infrared] sensor during the boost phase. What it does is what DSP does; it detects a launch and provides velocity, trajectory, and predicted impact points. That information will be then provided to -- instead of NORAD, this is provided to the Joint National Test Facility.
QI have two quick questions. As your reentry vehicle comes -- heads back toward Earth and your kill vehicle is looking at it, you're going to intercept it at 140 miles or 120 miles -- whatever -- but that's well above the atmosphere, right?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes, sir.
QSo you're not -- the kill vehicle is not going to be subject to reentry heat or --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: No.
QIt's just at whatever temperature --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: That's not -- exo-atmospheric kill vehicle, EKV. That means outside the atmosphere.
QSo it's not -- you're not aiming at the streaking dot that's glowing in the dark --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: No.
Q-- it's whatever it is. Okay.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay.
QThe other thing is, in a previous briefing, you mentioned that there was GPS on the target. I'm not clear on what role the GPS plays. I'm confused by that.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay. All right. GPS provides several roles for us. GPS first of all provides truth data. For the rest of it, there is a GPS receiver and a transponder on the reentry vehicle, okay? The reentry vehicle knows where it is, and GPS tells us where it is.
We need that for truth data because, as we do this post-flight analysis, we need to get that to check. And these other sensors are seeing the RV -- are really telling us where it really is. So that's a truth check for that.
There is another reason for the GPS in there. As you cross the Hawaiian radar -- we are testing functionality here. We are using this radar and potentially -- in fact I think that -- are we using the GPS signal that -- during the -- for the test data for the --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah, okay. Therefore, this is a range-limitation issue. We have got this radar and GPS, and we actually fuzz up the accuracy of GPS for the BMC3. We make the BMC3 think that from this sensor and the GPS, that it is getting GBRP [ground-based radar prototype] data. Okay? We use that in order to do the weapons task plan. Okay?
QI think you just lost -- (inaudible).
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: You're right. In fact, I was warned about that already. Okay.
The ground-based radar prototype is the X-Band Radar. Okay? We -- let me get my train of thought. This is out in Hawaii. As it's flying over, we use information from this radar and the GPS. And we take the GPS data, and we fuzz it up quite honestly, because GPS is a lot more accurate than radars. Okay?
We take that information, and then it goes into BMC3 to crunch the numbers. BMC3 then takes this radar information, as well as the degraded GPS, and issues a weapons task plan. Remember when I said earlier that the BMC3 then loads data up into the interceptor? BMC3 says: "Okay. This is where it is -- it's inbound -- and this is where you need to go." Okay?
Now then GPS -- now the other reason we use GPS -- and I think I am going back to the discussion we had the other day -- there is another contingency for use for GPS. Once it gets to the end-game and the interceptor is flying out, there is that update that I talked about right before the EKV separates, that we will provide the latest location target information to the interceptor. Our intent is to use the GBRP data to do that.
QSo the ground-based radar --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The ground-based radar -- to do that.
Q-- that's the new stuff that you are just trying for the first time?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Right. That is one of the objectives of this test. I will tell you that we have a contingency that if -- if this information drops off, or if it is deemed that it is not good enough, then we have the ability to use GPS data to do that last update prior to the EKV kicking off.
QSo the GPS would be used if something goes wrong with the radar?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: If something goes wrong with it.
QThe GPS, the degraded GPS would give you radaresque -- or the kind of data that you would expect to get from a radar?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Right. Early in the target (slide ?).
QSo that the rest of the test can go --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Right. Does that make sense?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay.
QWell, actually, would you then use the degraded GPS, or would you just the regular GPS that you use as a fallback -- (inaudible word)?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: (Inaudible.)
STAFF: Use the regular GPS.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Regular GPS. Now, I want to tell you something else. This is not the kill -- I mean, the target. (Inaudible word) -- and the systems are telling the kill vehicle, "This is where I am." It's not a beacon. It has to take the GPS information from that target, come down through the atmosphere, and then crunch. So there is margin for error, but I guess the answer is we will use -- (inaudible word).
QSo, you just have to -- (inaudible word) -- that -- will it be the fuzzed-up GPS from Hawaii stands in for the upgraded early warning radars?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes. (To staff.) In this case, are we using that for --
STAFF: (Off mike.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: We're making it think it's a GBRP.
QBut you already have a GBRP.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: GBRP -- this is a prototype -- can't reach out that far.
QOh, it doesn't go far enough. Okay.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: So what we're trying to do is demonstrate the functionality of --
QA full-size one would be able to --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes.
Q-- but the prototype -- And could I ask, on another question, on the Times article today. Can you tell us what happened in the last test in terms of the star shots, how that worked or didn't work? And then go to the question of whether the kill vehicle actually was able to do what it was supposed to, to discriminate between the RV and the decoy?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I guess last things first. Hit the target. Okay? That's what we're trying -- could we do that? We did. Did we learn from that test? Absolutely. Let me walk through what happened, and I guess you look at this as, Is the bottle half empty or half full? We said, Geez, the thing -- we had some problems, challenges, anomalies, and it worked in spite of those.
The maneuvers I talked about, there are basically -- not basically, there are two star shots. Once the kill vehicle is separated from the booster, it kicks over, does a star shot. Okay? It compares itself to a constellation that it expects to see. That does two things for us. One, it -- the first thing it does is it checks the pixels, this is an IR sensor on this kill vehicle. You want to check your pixels and convince yourself that yea, verily, all the pixels are working. And if I expect to see this star map, if I see them all with no anomalies in there, then you assume that the pixels are good.
(To staff) Is there a chart on that?
STAFF: (Off mike.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: It does that twice -- there's two routines; it kicks over and -- (inaudible). Star shot 53 did not work as expected. It's my understanding that it looked --
QWe got them.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: You got pictures?
QYou gave us, yeah.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Oh, okay.
The first star shot, looked for a constellation, saw it, but it wasn't the one it had remembered, didn't compare with it.
The second star shot, I don't even think it saw stars -- right? -- for the second one?
STAFF: (Off mike.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Do I have them turned around? Okay.
The message there is that the star shot routine did not work as planned. Now, the IMU [inertial measurement unit] was robust enough, smart enough, and it had information on where to expect the target. When the kill vehicle kicked over and started looking for the target complex, it saw a balloon. It did just what it was programmed to do; it discriminated, said that's the balloon, and it started its search routine for the target.
Now, the balloon was off center. Think of it as looking in a camera; the balloon was off center. It recognized it, said that that is a balloon, and it didn't center. Remember the crosshair? So it didn't center on the balloon, it just said okay, the target is supposed to be here, so I'm doing my search routine. It searched, did not see the RV. It knows how far away it was. And just think of how much time it's got. There's another logic that says that if this is the only thing I see up here, it must be the threat. So based on the time line, it then moved to the balloon; when it did, field of view changed, there was the RV; it deserted and hit the RV.
Q (Off mike.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: When it first opened its eyes and looked for the target, it saw the balloon. Oh, by the way, we expected it to -- I mean, it's bigger. The engineers predicted that it would see the balloon first. But it discriminated and said that's not the threat. So instead of putting the cross-hairs on the balloon, it didn't; it stayed where it was -- and then it goes through a search routine looking for the RV. As it did that search routine, and time's clicking, it couldn't find it. So the logic that -- okay, if this is the only thing I see, it must be the threat; I'm a kill vehicle, I'm going to kill something, it changed its field of view, started to put the cross-hairs, if you would, on the balloon, and the RV appeared in its field of view, and then it deserted it.
Q (Off mike.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I don't know. The question there is would -- if the balloon hadn't been there, would we have ever seen the RV? Don't know, and we probably won't know. But it did what it was supposed to do. It found the RV and it hit it.
Now, let me tell you about one other thing.
Q (Off mike.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Don't know. Was the RV masked by the balloon? Would it have killed the balloon? Was it -- (inaudible)? We're still analyzing that. I'll tell you what we did do. As a result of learning something from that test, we have expanded that search area significant for this test. So that is fine with that. Bottom line is we hit the durn thing.
QHow far apart were the RV and the balloon in the last test?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: (To colleague) Isn't that classified?
STAFF: (Off mike.)
QAre we talking about more than a hundred miles, or 200 miles? Are we talking about fairly close?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I would characterize it as fairly close.
QWhat is the size difference between the balloon and the RV?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I'd rather not go into that.
Q (Off mike) -- difference?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: You could tell them apart.
Yes, ma'am? I've been ignoring you; I'm sorry.
QCould you explain a little more about -- you say it did what you wanted to do; right, in the end it hit the target. But I assume it was never supposed to hit the decoy. I mean, you said it did it right the first time by ignoring it, but when it came back and said, "I'm a kill vehicle, I've got to kill something," I assume that test was supposed to be sophisticated enough so it wasn't supposed to kill the decoy, either.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Right. I mean, it did what it was supposed to do. It discriminated initially that this is not an RV, and in fact to the point that it never even changed it's field of view to basically put its cross-hairs on the balloon. But as it got closer to the smart rock [EKV]. You know, as it got closer, if this is the only thing I see, then that must be the threat. It's a logic routine, if you would. And I won't say at the last moment, but as it was getting close to the last moment, it said, okay, this is the only thing I see, it must be it. And when it swung its cross-hairs, if you would, to the balloon, the RV appeared and it discriminated against it and said this is it, locked on, diverted and hit it.
QYou're sure it discriminated at that point.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes. Absolutely.
QHow would you know?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: We lost telemetry, we had multiple sensors watching it, we had cameras watching it. The bright flash was the first giveaway. (Laughter.) And in fact, I was giving a -- talking with some people in a public hearing and was showing them video of that, and one of the hardest things I had to do to convince them was that there was no explosive in that, that that was actually a hit to kill. Sure it exploded. Look at all these sparks. Telemetry was lost at the same time. So we are real confident.
Q (Off mike.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah.
QAnd what was left of the RV and the EKV? Just atom-sized particles, or what do you know about the size?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Space dust.
QSpace dust. And it was going to re-enter.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The RV was going to re-enter. Did you see the picture of the debris field that got from --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: We have we have a radar screen of the debris field that shows when it hit. The radar also shows the balloon, shows the post-boost vehicle and the RV and when it hit and then the debris field.
Who have I been ignoring? Back in the back.
QWhy didn't you tell us about these problems last fall after the first test? I mean, why are we hearing about this now?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Honestly?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Didn't see then as problems.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Didn't see them as a problem. I mean, and maybe it's because we're lowly material developers -- you know, all we do is test. But, yeah, there's anomalies that happen on every test. And in fact, I would be concerned when we start doing tests if we don't have anomalies.
QThe question is why you didn't tell us about the anomaly?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: My answer? Didn't think it was that important, to be honest with you.
QWe were told last fall it was a successful test, things went well.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes. Yes. And it did. And I will say the same thing. It was a successful test; went well. Were there anomalies? Sure.
QWell why weren't we told about them?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Didn't think it was that big of a deal. To be honest, I --
QIsn't the star shot a pretty fundamental process?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Fundamental as in should be easy to do?
QNo, as in essential, basic, important.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: It is a health check for the kill vehicle. The message -- I guess one of the lessons learned, at least based on the sample size of one test, is that even without the star shot, that the IMU and the target information was robust enough to handle an intercept even without the star shot.
QWhat's the IMU?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: It's the navigator -- it's the inertial navigation -- measurement unit.
QWould a real system do star shots?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes.
QEven though you can't know exactly what trajectory it will be on? Because you don't know where the missile is coming from, so how do you know what the star should look like when it gets there?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: There are set constellations that you look for.
QA question -- you've expanded the search area, you said, for the seeker. I guess the question is, if you had it narrow beforehand, there was probably a reason you had not expanded it. What's the price? And then the other question I had was on the radar, the GBRP radar. You had the software fix and you tested that against one of the launches. Which one was it, and how often did you test it?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay, the first part of the question was the expanded --
QThe expanded search area.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Why didn't we set it the way we did the first time?
QWell, what was the cost of the expanded search area?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Zero to one. Oh, the cost? The cost is in time. It takes more time to do a broader search.
But what we proved to ourselves --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: -- what we did -- well, we proved to ourselves in the first place is that we have time to do that.
QHow much more time are we talking now?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: (Staffer's name omitted) -- how much more time to do that extended search then?
STAFF: I don't know.
QFrom when to when -- I am just trying to figure out the -- well, comparing the two, what would have taken -- to search the field of view then versus now?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well, the technical answer is it depends. It depends on when it sees the target because then it stops the search. But if we have got an extended search fence, then it will use that extended search fence up to the point that it finds the target, and then it stops.
So I guess I am -- I am not sure how to answer your question.
QWell, other than --
QHow larger is the field of view or -- I mean --
STAFF: About twice the size, yeah.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: About two hundred and --
STAFF: About two and a half to three by three --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah; talking about 210 percent is about what I have heard. We basically doubled it.
And you had a second part of the question?
QAre you -- (inaudible) -- GBRP software then?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes, GRBP software tested on a RRF [Risk Reduction Flight] is that the Kodiak shot or the risk-reduction flight? Okay.
We do the risk-reduction flights -- (inaudible). The Air Force shoots the Minuteman shot out of Vandenberg downrange. We play like that it is a -- well, it is an ICBM. Never mind. We take those out there, and then we exercise, specifically. We do -- software change to GBRP was exercised then, not only that risk-reduction flight. We also do ground simulations with it.
And somebody over here. Yes, ma'am?
QDuring the last test, you reported that the target was hit within 10 percent -- (inaudible). Is that still the case? Is that the truth?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes.
QIs that still -- was that in any way -- do you think you could come closer if you had not had the anomaly? Is that the only way you are going to --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I'd take 10 percent anytime I can get it. But I don't know.
QDo you have to come closer --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Absolutely. I always hope to come closer -- won't be surprised if we don't. But I don't know that that had any bearing on the first test, and that's just a gut feel.
QOn this test, will the information from the satellites go to the BMC3?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes. BMC3 defined as the one out in Colorado Springs, the JNTF, the Joint National Test Facility.
QBut not going to Kwajalein?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well, the MPT -- (inaudible) -- where the information is going to go initially from the satellite -- go into -- to Colorado Springs. They crunch the numbers. Then it is sent out, if you would, over the Net, as a warning.
QAt Kwajalein --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: At "Kwaj," yes --
Q-- and then up to the kill vehicle?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well, it goes to "Kwaj," and then , if you would, cues the range sensors -- "look out, here comes something" --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: -- it cues that. Then it takes information that comes from the ground-based radars, is then crunched into BMC3. That goes into the weapons task plan, the launch order, if you would, for the interceptor. And then, as the interceptor is flying out, hopefully the ground-based radar prototype will provide discrimination information, the latest, and we will take that to the BMC3, link it to the interceptor just before the kill vehicle pops off.
QWhat separates IFT-4 from a true integrated systems test? What components of the system will not be on line to participate actively for this test?
And secondly, if you achieve a successful in IFT-4, you'll have had two successful intercepts. But my understanding of the requirement for the DRR is that you still have to get a succession IFT-5 to get that systems set. Is that correct?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Whether Integrated Flight Test 4 will be deemed an integrated systems test has not been decided yet, for the purposes of the DRR. I think that's the last part.
The first part is, what is different from this and Integrated Flight Test 5? Okay. The difference between this and Integrated Flight Test 5 -- (to staff) -- do I have another chart for this?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The big difference is how do you communicate with that rocket -- the interceptor as it's flying out. In Integrated Flight Test 5, which is scheduled for --
STAFF: No, I don't think -- (off mike).
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay. Fine.
We will have a --
Q (Off mike.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Integrated Flight Test 5, the next one.
QWhen is it?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: So it's going to be in April, May.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: April, May.
We will have another element as part of the BMC3 that's -- (to staff) -- where is that? You're going to love this. It's called the IFICS, okay -- the In-Flight Interceptor Communications System. In IFT5 and in the operational system -- that's going to be the antenna that talks to the interceptor as it flies out -- we will have that in 5. We will not have that in IFT4. That is the big difference.
Now we will still have the IFICS emitting, you know, as far as our test. It will be emitting the command, just like it was talking to the interceptor. The problem is, this interceptor can't hear it for -- the reason is because of the type of receivers it has on it.
The question for, Is this an integrated systems test or integrated flight test, I'm just the nuts and bolts guy. Somebody will decide. We're just going to try to hit the durn target.
QBut besides IFICS, there's really no difference as far as participation among Kwaj and the range radars and things like that?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah. Bet you five dollars that, you know, we'll get some anomalies, and we'll want to fix those. There's always software tweaks. But the big difference is the IFICS.
QWhat's the planned time of kill on this?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The flying time?
QWell, it's Eastern Time --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Oh, oh. I'm sorry.
Q (Inaudible) -- Eastern Time if you have to.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Oh, let me answer this one. (Laughs.) It starts at 9:00 at night, the launch window opens.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Eastern Time. Now, if you asked Kwaj time, I got to get my calculator out.
QMust be about 9:30, if you launch right at 9:00, target right at 9:00?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Then it's the next day, right? Now, when it's here, they're here, it's 9:00 at night. For there, what time is it?
QIt'd be 2:00 in the afternoon, I --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Two in the afternoon the next day.
QIn the afternoon -- Wednesday.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes, ma'am?
QIt's an important question, this one about whether or not this is an -- (inaudible word) -- systems test. Who decides, and when will they decide? Will you wait and see if it's successful and then call it in?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: From a program office, it is what it is. I mean, the test is what it is, whether it's, for the DRR purposes, it will be a department-owned decision.
QWhen is it --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: When is it going to be made? I don't know, whether it's before or after.
QThat's important, though, for us to know, because that's the test that the president needs in order to make a deployment decision.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Not necessarily, no.
Q (Off mike) -- these systems, he doesn't have to have at least two successes, one of which has to be --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The marching orders we're going is for the DRR, which is not the presidential decision. That's the Department's readiness/feasibility review. We have a goalpost, if you would. The goalpost is two metal-on-metal contacts -- notice I didn't say -- okay, we have two metal-on-metal contacts, one of which must be an integrated systems test.
QAnd then what happens after that? What does that --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Then we take that -- we will have the deployment readiness review in June of this year. Whether it is deemed a systems test or not, whether we hit or not. Now, what the Department decides to do after that, I don't know.
QBut -- I'm sorry -- the goalposts are in order to hold the review, or in order to make the decision?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: No, it means the review will be held -- (audio break) -- acquisition -- (audio break) -- exit criteria, the exit criteria that we set as a goal -- has been set on us as a goal -- is two metal-on-metal contacts, one of which must be an integrated systems test.
QIn order for what to happen?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: In order to proceed past the DRR.
QPast the DRR?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah. Now, that's my words -- past the DRR. We will go with the DRR, as lowly test geeks and developers, with the information we have, and then the department will make a recommendation based upon that information.
QNo matter what, in June you'll have the DRR?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: No matter what, we'll have -- the DRR is a schedule-driven event, not an event.
QSo is that the same as saying that the review would not say, "Fine, go ahead" unless there were two -- unless they meet those goal posts; is that right? In other words, would you have goal posts? I don't understand.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: It is a goal for us -- levied upon us by the department. What is the department going to do. For example, if there are -- if we hit three, if we hit four, if we hit five, does that mean that there will be a positive decision? I don't know. I don't know.
QBut this is the minimum standard for a positive decision; is that correct?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: That has been levied on the Program Office. Now, once we take information -- and the reason I say that is you -- you really have to -- why did you miss? You know, just because you get metal-on-metal contact does not necessarily mean that the test was a total success. Just because you don't get metal-on-metal contact doesn't necessarily mean that the test was a total failure.
QMaybe this is something, (name of briefer deleted), you can address, because there's a political side to this obviously. And I understand that you're the technical guy.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I'm the geek.
QI wouldn't say that. (Laughter.) The importance of this is what? If the second test is the -- (word inaudible) -- systems test and it's successful, what is the menu of options that the Defense Department has in front of it, and the president, with regard to deploying NMD?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I think that the briefer has made it very clear that this is part of an extended process. And I think what we have to look at is the whole series of results over all of the tests. And it's premature to focus on any one test as determinative at this stage.
So I don't know the basis on which the decision will be made whether to call this an integrated test. But obviously, as the tests become progressively more sophisticated and progressively involve more components of what would be a final system, it becomes more integrated, at some point you have to say that this is an integrated test. Whether we do this next week or whether we do it in April or May remains to be seen.
I think that one thing that should be clear is that the most difficult and sophisticated part of this entire program is really the battle management system. If you look at the three major components of interceptors, radars, and other sensors, and the integrating battle management system, by far the most complex and difficult part is the part that pulls it all together and sends out the right signals and the right communications to the various parts, to the interceptor.
So as we draw more and more heavily on the battle management system, obviously the tests become more integrated. But somebody with far more expertise in rocketry and computers than I will have to make the decision as to when you apply the word "integrated."
Q (Name of briefer two deleted), could I ask a -- could I follow up on that particular thing just said about the battle management thing? Because it seems like there are an awful lot of surrogates for everything but the battle management system in this. Obviously, there's a surrogate interceptor. There's a surrogate communications link from the battle management to the interceptor. There's surrogate x-band radar data. There's real DSP data, I guess. That's one of the few real things. So almost everything is surrogate, except for the battle management thing. So should we look at this as -- is that the focus, using the battle management integration for the first time, even though everything that's going into it and everything that's coming out of it is surrogate?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well, let me say -- I know you've been around -- we have all these elements. What the BMC3 to better -- is that is the integrating element.
QRight. No, I understand.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Now is it the most important? Yeah. Are we very interested in seeing how BMC3 performs for this thing? Absolutely. Is BMC3 -- is it as at a stage of development ready for an operational system? No. Okay. But we have a plan to do increasingly more complex testings to the BMC3 to make that so.
QIs there a way you can give us some quantification in terms of millions of lines of code or whatever --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Oh --
Q-- to compare it to something, some complicated thing we might --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Anything I'd say would be a wild guess, other than "a lot." (Laughter.)
QCan I ask you a question, (name of briefer deleted)? Maybe I'm being thick about this, but I don't quite understand yet the two-success standard that's been set.
Until you meet that standard, the decisions would not be put to the president? Is that correct? Or what would not happen if you don't -- in other words -- well, let me stop. Does it not go to the president until you've met that standard? Is that right?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well, as my much more knowledgeable colleague explained, the definition of success and failures is more complex than just hitting the target. And I guess decisions will have to be made about what constitutes success. It's very clear that when we hit the target, everybody can call it a success. It's also clear from the New York Times today that some people want to claim that it wasn't a success last time even though we hit the target. So that gives you an idea of the complexity and the room for maneuver on definitions here.
The -- (briefer title deleted) -- pointed out that he may consider certain tests a success even if we didn't hit the target. And one possibility might be -- and maybe you should explain this, but if we knew exactly why we didn't hit the target, and the fix was easy and we had high confidence that by making that one fix, we could hit the target the next time, I suspect that the analyst might consider that a success. But obviously, it wouldn't appear as a success on television if the two things flew by each other without colliding.
So, you know, there's going to be a lot of room for definition here. What is clear to me is that this is a very high priority program. We are working very hard in this building to give the president the information he needs from the technical side to make a decision sometime this summer. And obviously, if we have a series of tests that are deemed to be failures, we couldn't say that this was ready to deploy. So far, we have had one very good success, and we'll have to see what we do in the next tests.
Q (Name of briefer deleted), the president said, when he was asked about this program, he said it would be deployed when it is ready. And my question is, who will decide when the program is, in fact, ready for some kind of deployment?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: We will make a deployment readiness recommendation to the president, and then the president will decide what to do next. This is a presidential decision; obviously, it's a major decision. But we will make a DRR, a deployment readiness review, and recommendation, to the president.
QBut what you are saying here is, even if there is two metal-to-metal-contact intercepts, including one in an integrated test --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: What I am trying to say --
Q-- not --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: -- what I am trying to avoid --
Q-- hold on a second --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: -- wait a minute -- what I am trying to avoid -- let's be very clear -- I am trying to avoid defining, "What means success?" (Cross talk.) I am not going to define right now exactly what the information -- I can't tell you because I don't know. I cannot tell you what will constitute the evidence we need to call this system ready to deploy.
QBut my question is, as we were given the exit criteria a few minutes earlier, which is two metal-to-metal intercepts with one of them being an integrated test; if that's happened, that does not mean that the recommendation to the president will be favorable? And similarly, if you do not get two -- meet those exit criteria as laid out earlier, that does not mean that the recommendation will be negative. Is that what you are saying?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I don't know the answer to that question; I am not going to answer it.
Q (Inaudible) -- as the battle management system been tested extensively by TRW, what are some of the major challenges that they have overcome at this point? And conversely, what are some of the great unknowns that could come back and bite you if this particular integrated system -- (inaudible)?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: What challenges have they --
Q-- overcome --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Overcome.
Q-- especially, and risks to go that you are concerned about?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Gosh, where do you start?
BMC challenge. First of all -- TRW started it. Remember, BMC3 has been around before; the lead systems integrator, who started a systems development, if you would. So there was actually a change in direction, if you would; when Boeing came known as the lead systems integrator for this system, they obviously had a little different approach than the path that TRW was on. Now, the good news is TRW is still doing the BMC3, but there was a redirect.
You mentioned the software; this BMC3 system has to get information from a lot of sources, current stead -- nearly real time -- and help the war-fighter to make some decisions; fast-processing sensors all over the world in theory.
So just the function of having to be the integrating element for all this stuff is the complexity factor.
I'm not sure I answered your question, but BMC3 is the magic to me. It's the magic of the system.
QAnd if it fails somewhat Tuesday night, is that going to be a major setback to your whole testing effort?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: If what fails?
QIf the BMC3 system fails to perform up to its requirements, will that constitute a major setback?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Would it be -- it depends on the failure mode. Would we meet all of our objectives? No. BMC3 is obviously one of the objectives. It depends on what happens. It could be minor, it could be "Oh, my god."
QCan we do a couple of quickies on IFT-3 again? One, one interpretation you could make from the whole thing is that you had aimed the interceptor and the target so carefully that even though it didn't do the star shot properly, it was still, you know, skin-to-skin when it got up there, and that otherwise, you wouldn't have had a decent test because the Seeker wouldn't have been in the right place. Is that a proper interpretation?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: That's close. This thing is still 1,500 miles away when they kick it off, and then it's on its own. What you have to do -- the trick is getting the kill vehicle into the basket.
QRight. But that is done because you sent it to the basket?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: In the last test, because we sent it to the basket. True statement. Because the objective was --
QSo the star shot didn't affect the fact that it went to the basket? Because some of the stories in the Times sort of suggest that it drifted off, or whatever --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Remember what --
QI know. I heard what you said.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: -- there's many, many ways you can adjust for errors into this IMU or inertial measurement unit. The star shot was intended to calibrate and fix any errors. It was robust enough that it hit without it.
QOkay. And -- I guess that was my main -- Oh! -- no, that was it.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Oh, good. (Laughter.)
QI've got a question. And this might be for (the other briefer). What are we going to know on Tuesday night? How much information can we get -- will we be able to get then?
QMine was along those lines, too. The window starts at 9:00?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Nine o'clock.
QDoes that mean that's when it goes up -- I mean --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: That's the first opportunity for it to go up. The window is about four hours long, so -- and what that does, if there is an anomaly as part of the test count, it gives you the opportunity to reset the sequences and start again. So you've got about a four-hour window.
What will we know?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: If there is a hit.
QHow would you know?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: How would I know?
QYou're going to lose your telemetry.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: We're going to lose telemetry. We're going to see it. And on a clear night, you might see it with your naked eyes, if you happen to be on a boat out in the Pacific.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: To answer Paul's question, the last time, we had a blue top out within about an hour of the test, and we had video within about six hours. So we'd anticipate trying to do the same thing this time. I mean, you're probably the only newspaper -- one of the few newspapers that could get something major in starting at 10:00.
QSo there will be a yes or no, but all the sort of surrounding circumstances we won't know? The performance of sort of sub-systems and all that, we'll have to wait a day or more?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Unless there was a gross anomaly that we picked up right away, you know.
QFor example, if you used GPS to cue the interceptor rather than the ground-based radar, would you know that right away?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I don't know if we'd know that right away. We might have to look at the -- you know, go in and analyze, see what the BMC3 actually crunched and sent out. I don't know the answer to that one.
QI have another question, and it may be (for the other briefer). Is there any way for the president to kick the can down the road to his successor and yet still have the system meet the '05 deadline?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: This briefing is on the test number four.
QJust briefly to (the other briefer), can this technology be directly applied to missiles that are shorter range, that have lower apogees, lower altitudes of attack? In other words --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Can this missile?
QYeah. Can this system be applied to missiles that are not going deeply into space -- not deeply, but, I mean --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: The technology can be applied. As far as the limitations of the system pertaining to that, I'd rather not go into. In fact, I can't go into.
QYou can't go into that? So you don't know -- you can't tell me if this system could be --
(Off mike cross talk.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: (Inaudible.)
STAFF: That's the difference between NMD and TMD --
QTheater systems go after the short range. But what I'm asking is can this kill vehicle be adapted to something that is shorter range and lower altitude.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: (Inaudible.)
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Let's take one more question here and then knock it off.
QThank you. I realize you're using the same basic Raytheon prototype kill vehicle, but have there been any hardware tweaks to the EKV that differentiate it from the one that you used in IFT3?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well, for example, remember, we changed the search --
QIs there anything else, like --
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Nothing significant. No, that's the main thing.
QA quick technical?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Fast.
QHow much time do you have once the EKV opens its eyes to when it will, like, go past the target? How much time elapses there?
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Oh, six to eight minutes. Closer to eight minutes.
SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Okay, thank you very much.