Index

Background Briefing


Wednesday, January 19, 2000 - 3:34 p.m.
Subject: Ballistic Missile Intercept Test
Presenter: Attributable to a Senior Military Official

MR. BACON: This briefing is on background attributable to a senior military official.

I want to stress at the outset that of course we are less than 24 hours after the test. So the assessment is very preliminary. This is our best assessment, given the small amount of time we have had. Elements could be subject to change. We think we have a pretty good picture of what happened.

But there will be a lot of data crunching over the next week or longer. And pulling this all together is a complex technological challenge. But we wanted to give you our best assessment of what happened, what worked, and what didn't work.

So with that, I'll turn it over to your old friend, the briefer.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I guess first of all, I should just mention I am just real pleased to be here with you again today. (Laughter.) This is information is so preliminary I didn't even have a chance to read the statement. So I am just going to get right into it.

Last night, about 9:19 p.m. Eastern time, the target left Vandenberg, 19 minutes late -- or not late -- behind the opening of the window because of the weather holds.

Bottom line up front: Everything -- based on preliminary information -- appeared nominal till we got to the end-game and the kill vehicle failed to conduct the intercept, if you would -- this objective.

Let me start here. I mentioned that 9:19, the Minuteman took off -- the target. The target was properly deployed. The balloon was properly deployed. It was in an interceptable basket, meaning we will go -- at least based on the target deployment -- to fire the interceptor, the DSP [defense support program].

And remember, as I said the other day, one of the other preliminary objectives was making the BMC3 [ballistic missile command, control and communications system] work as part of the in-line function on this test. As part of the BMC3, the DSP gave the warning. It told the BMC3, "This is the target, this is the velocity, this is where it's headed." That queued the radars in Hawaii, the other range sensors. It picked up -- right at the -- when the target came across the horizon. we were right on schedule, right on time line. It picked up the target.

I mentioned the other day, just to give you all background on how we're using it -- remember the GPS [global positioning system] and the radar? Well, we used the GPS data, we fuzzed it up to make BMC3 think that this was a surrogate, if you would, XBR [X band radar] radar. I will tell you that the BMC -- not the BMC3, but the early-warning-radar aspects were nominal.

Q: (Inaudible.)

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The early-warning radar. We used early-warning track -- also went into the BMC3. It tracked the target all the way across the horizon. Remember, in the case of the UEWR [upgraded early warning radar], the target has started going away from it.

Q: So to be clear, when you use the terminal "nominal," you mean "okay" --

Q: "Normal."

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Normal. Within predictions.

(Laughter, cross talk.)

Q: It's space talk!

Q: It's the early warning radar.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The early warning radar.

Okay. Where were we? We were over Hawaii. They -- we're flying along about 20 minutes later -- oh, I will tell you this. The X-band radar, the GBRP [ground-based radar prototype] out at Kwaj [Kwajalein], picked up the target complex actually earlier than we anticipated, and -- now I'm going to back up. Remember, this is preliminary.

The information we used from the Hawaii radar and the GPS -- that's where we went into the BMC3. The BMC3 took that information and formulated the weapons task plan. It told the interceptor through the BMC3, "This where the target's going. This is where you need to go." That appears -- and again, all this is preliminary -- just so y'all know, the data is on its way back to this country now. We haven't even seen it. But it appears that that testing plan was nominal, within predictions.

Twenty minutes after the target took off, the interceptor took off -- right on the predicted time line, I might add. The GBRP data -- remember, that's the X-band radar at Kwaj -- was used -- here, that subobjective or that primary objective -- it was used, through the BMC3, to formulate the IFTU, the in-flight target update. So the objective of the GBRP or the XBR working appears to have been met.

The target update went out, the EKV [exoatmospheric kill vehicle] separated, the first star shot -- remember the star shot from the last time -- opened his eyes, did the maneuver. Opened his eyes, saw the star, kicked back over, flew a little further, did the second star shot, and it appears -- it appears -- that when it opened its eyes a second time it didn't immediately see the star, went through its first step function. Remember -- looks, don't see it, I look around. So did his first step-function, saw the star, correlated itself, kicked over and started to look at the target, where it thought the target complex was.

Q: Is that normal? I didn't quite follow what you said.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The two star shots was normal.

Q: Okay.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: We are going to want to look at why did it go through the second. It worked as designed. "I looked up to see a star, I didn't see it, now I do a step search." That's as it was designed, but we want to look at that to see why did it do that? Why did it look at the -- why didn't it see the star when it first opened his eye? That's what we were expecting; worked as designed, got to look at it.

Q: How far was it from the target when it took the second star shot?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Second star shot was between three and four minutes out. Remember, the flight time of the kill vehicle is about six minutes.

Q: Is there any connection between the star shot that occurred here and the one that occurred in the first -- in October, which we talked about a great deal last year? Is there any similarities between the two? Is there an indication that there's a problem with this?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I don't think so. Probably too preliminary to tell. I guess, you know, the bottom line is the star shots appeared to work this time, where last time they apparently didn't.

Q: Are you -- I'm sorry -- are you saying it's possible because of a delay in the second star shot that it didn't intercept the missile?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Nope. Absolutely not. I'm not saying that.

Q: (Off mike) -- still don't know what the significance of that star shot --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Because of my sensitivities from not telling you what happened last time -- (Laughter.)

Q: So it looked around and finally did find the second star?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah. And look, this is not like, "Oh, my God!" (Laughter.)

Q: No, I know. It didn't -- (off mike).

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: It was, "Oh, no. This is where I think it should be, it's not there." It was programmed to do a step search.

Q: Gotcha.

Q: Three and four minutes is how much in terms of distance, as far as --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: At 5,000 miles an hour, I could probably figure it out for you, but I don't know the information off the top of my head. You know, it starts out at about 1,400 miles away at about the six-minute point. So, I just did not figure -- I need to write this down to figure that out.

Q: What happened next?

Q: So what happened next?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Oh! Okay! (Laughter, cross talk.) It's really a good story. I hope I don't forget it!

Q: We're on the edge of our seats!

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Okay. We were at second star shot, did one-step search, saw it, kicked over, opened its eyes to look where it thinks the target is. It apparently saw the target nearly dead-center.

Q: The target or the target complex?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The target complex. Good point. It saw the target complex.

Then, still we are right on time line, nominal time line. As we get to the end-game, it appears -- and I want to emphasize "appears" because, you know, my eyes are still bleary; I'm not sure what I've been told. It appears that there was an anomaly or an issue with the IR sensor packages -- IR being the infrared. Remember, this seeker has two infrared sensors and one visual light. It appears -- and this is still preliminary; we have to go figure out what happened to the IR sensors. And as we're sitting there at 29 minutes, 49 seconds after the targeted lifted off, there was not the bright flash that we saw on the first one.

Q: If the IR sensors are not functioning quite right, help us understand in your closing minutes or seconds what the IR sensor does. Does it differentiate, for example, between decoy and target or --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Let me go back to Integrated Flight Test 3 with the IR, where the answer is yes. Remember, I said there was a visual light sensor on it. It appears that the visual light sensor package acquired the target and began the discrimination process. But that's about as much detail as I know about it.

Q: So is the IR sensor what does the final honing-in on an incoming warhead?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The end-game, the very end-game is the IR sensor.

Q: And you're suggesting an anomaly with one of the IR sensors; right?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I'm suggesting preliminary -- that there was an anomaly with both IR sensors.

Q: So the visual light sensor can't guide it to the final -- it's not -- they're not redundant?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: For the very end-game --

Q: Can you tell us, the very end-game, tell us the time sequence, seconds?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Just under six seconds.

Q: What happened to the -- both of them? I assume they burned up in the atmosphere coming in?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Oh, the target RV reentered. We tracked it all the way to splashdown in the open ocean. The kill vehicle, because it's fragile -- is not designed to reenter, that it broke up, burned on reentry.

Q: So these guys went whizzing by each other roughly -- I mean, 20 miles, a thousand miles?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I don't know. I use the analogy that, you know, as you take this problem and you dissect it down from, you know, a little bitty target in a great big space, where you start off with the satellite sensors telling you the Zip code -- or the state, the early warning radar telling you the Zip code, while the XBR -- just using the kill vehicle -- got us to the street address. What we failed to do is ring the doorbell.

Now how close is that? I don't know, because we don't have the angles of what saw what, the intent through the analysis to figure out how close were we -- but now the objective was to intercept. We didn't. We did apparently accomplish a lot of our objectives, but not that one.

Q: You said you didn't have IVR sensors apparently working, you were -- I presume you were not able to do the discrimination between decoy and RV, or were you?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I wouldn't go so far as to say that. Preliminary indications -- and I want to emphasize "preliminary" -- is that it was able to do that --

Q: Presumably --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: -- with the visual light sensor.

Q: These IR sensors -- obviously, this is not the first time they've ever been tested in any way. Has there ever been any sort of similar anomaly with these before, or is this a new problem that you've never seen before?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: On this program, the answer is no. On other programs, I'm not in a position to answer.

Q: Just to be clear, these were redundant systems and had only one developed an anomaly, it still could have honed in on the target, correct?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I think the answer to that question is right. But even though there are two sensors -- there are two IR sensor packages, they're cooled from the same source, for example.

Q: Oh. So they're linked, in other words --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: They are linked --

Q: And both malfunctioned, apparently.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The indication -- preliminary indication is that we had a malfunction on both.

Q: So did they ever function the entire time?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: To be honest with you, I'm not real sure. One of them, we think, might have, but I don't know.

Q: So when you say it opened its eye and saw the target right in the cross hairs, that was optical and not IR?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: When the kill -- then that's how it appears.

Yes, sir?

Q: Are you able to exclude at this point the possibility that there may have been anomalies with some of the other EKV components, like the divert and (inaudible word) control system?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I can't exclude anything, because literally, you know, this was 12 hours ago, and the people involved were on an airplane heading back this way.

Q: But when you say that one of them might have functioned, are you also saying that you know for sure that one of them did not function at all?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The preliminary indications are that at least one of them -- and ultimately both of them -- did not work.

Q: One did not function at all, did not even turn on or --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I had rather not -- when we got to the endgame, we didn't have them. That much we know.

Q: Can you talk of in the final seconds of this -- now I'm going to the human dimension -- all systems go, everything is great, five, four, three, two, one -- two, three, four, five -- (laughter) --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Were you there? (Laughter.)

Q: I mean, what were the emotions and things that --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I would say the team was obviously disappointed. There was a high expectation. You know, we tend to pride ourselves that, you know, are we lucky? Well, in space launch, in rocket launch, you know, you're lucky to get off the pad, I mean, that's just -- don't quote me on it. That was really off the record! (Laughter.)

But you know, the harder we work, the luckier we get, or at least that's what -- and a lot of hard work by a lot of good people went into this. And yeah, there was disappointment, surprise and disappointment.

Q: Is there a controller who says something to sort of announce this thing as it goes, who would have announced something -- a sentence or a phrase -- when it was clear there was a miss? And what was the phrase?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Ah -- well, I can't tell you what I said. (Laughter.)

Yes, there was a -- we got counts like, "One minute out," you know, "10 seconds out, five seconds out." And, you know, five seconds obviously came and went. And then the announcement on the command net was "Safe the range" --

Q: Was what?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: "Safe the range."

Q: "Safe the range."

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Which is the normal announcement whether you had a hit or not. So no, there was not a big hoopla, there was not a big "Oh, s---" et cetera.

Q: What does "safe the range" mean?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: It's just -- "safe the range" is space launch command talk to put everybody -- get back into normal operation.

Q: It was the last six seconds, you said, that -- up till the last six seconds everything worked as normal?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Based upon, like I said, preliminary look at the data stream, yeah, it looks like that everything was pretty -- well, let me rephrase that. We still have to look at the IR sensors; you know, had we acquired the target, were we tracking to the target? Apparently so, until the last six seconds.

Q: When did you realize that at least one of the IR sensors was not working properly? Was it during the test or only when you looked back afterwards?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Oh, no, it's when you get to looking at the telemetry streams, the data that comes back. You then look at your key streams and then you say, "Hm, there is something here." Now, the question, there's something there. The challenge now is to go figure out what that something was.

Q: If you hit the balloon instead of the target, you would know that well in advance, correct?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yes.

Q: That would be obvious?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yes.

Q: Aside from the balloon, was there any movement in the warhead -- designed in the warhead to confuse -- (inaudible) -- or did it just keep up, keep its --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The warhead was on a ballistic trajectory.

Yes, sir?

Q: Once you get into those last six seconds, am I right in understanding that the kill vehicle can't lock-in on the target without the IR sensors; is that correct?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: That's what we're looking at right now. But apparently -- and I want to emphasize "apparently" -- the test set-up was to use the IR in the very end-game.

Q: What would it have done -- I mean, it knows there's a target out there. It's identified it, it's set a course towards it for an intercept. The target's on, as you said, a ballistic course, so if both these two things are aimed at each other, going that fast, you assume something happened to take it off the course, right?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I think the key to that phrase is "that fast". You -- if you look back at IFT-3, the test before, we maneuvered -- you're going to see the DACS [divert and attitude control system], the little rocket motors, firing all the way to impact. So it's correcting itself all the way to impact.

Q: What would its -- what is it programmed to do when all of a sudden it can't see where it's going, or it can't -- I mean, if it --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I think that --

Q: If the infrared goes out because it's, you know --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: That would be subjective on my -- I think I know that answer, but I think the answer is at U.S. Ballistic. (Inaudible) -- normal correction. But I am not confident in that, which Mr. Bacon's going to kill me for doing it.

Yes, sir?

Q: The portion of the test the -- (inaudible) -- included the BMC3 part of the system. How would you assess the performance of that in as far as --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I would assess it the same way as I do the kill -- preliminary, but the initial assessment is that the BMC3 was nominal. It worked as predicted.

Q: So was -- that part of the test leading towards being able to call this an integrated flight system test, at this stage of the game you would say that all of that was in order? That this was a --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I would say, based on preliminary, it appears that the BMC3 worked as designed with nominal performance.

Q: This was the first time that you have exercised it to this degree.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: This was the first -- right. This was the first time we've had the BMC3 actually crunch the numbers from all its sensors, generate the weapons test plan as well as the IFT.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: (Off mike) -- the GBR prototype again, and did you have any issues prior to the test or during the test with the GBRP, or did it perform, you know, great?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: It performed as expected.

Q: Can you go through again the sequence of --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The sequence of how it --

Q: -- with the GBRP?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Okay. From the GBRP perspective -- first of all, the GBRP actually saw the target and started discriminating the target a little earlier than we predicted.

Q: On its own?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: On its own. Stupid radar -- (laughter) -- which was okay. Okay? (Laughter.) (Laughs.) Yeah, you take a job serious, but don't take yourself too seriously -- (inaudible).

I'll tell you this, one, is because this is -- apparently is a pretty good little radar. But it also predicted it out past the time when you want to generate your weapons task plan.

We told the BMC3 system to disregard the GBRP data for doing the weapons task plan. Remember, we are using GPS and the Hawaiian radar to confuse BMC3 to thinking it's an X-band radar. What we may have learned from that is, "Gee, maybe this thing is better than we think and we might be able to use that -- might be able to use that in weapons task plans in the future." But we didn't for this one.

As it handed over -- remember the weapons task plan, which was generated by information from the GPS and the Hawaiian radar, went to the rocket as it was sitting on the pad, said, "This is where we think it will need to go." It took off. The target is coming closer and closer. Now we are getting a good track with the GBRP.

We used that information into the BMC3. And remember, we correlate that with the GPS data that we have, and said, "Is this good enough to use to do the in-flight target update?" And the answer was, "Yes, the GBRP data is good enough." So that was the data that was used to give the in-flight target update as the interceptor was flying out. It appears -- it appears that, when it did the star shot, that it was put in a good basket.

Q: I speak both Pentagonese and English -- (laughter) -- but I am wondering if you could just -- I want to make sure I am translating one part right, just so I make sure I -- for my bureau. "IR" means "infrared radiation"?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: "Infrared." Right.

Q: Right. Okay, "infrared." And so in common English, we are talking about heat-seeking, right?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yes.

Q: Okay. I just want to make sure I --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Okay? (Cross talk.)

Yes, ma'am? I have been ignoring you.

Q: (Inaudible.)

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Oh, you're --

Q: (Inaudible) -- any way, prior to the final end-game, to determine that the IR was not working? And if there had been, would there be any way to adjust it? There was no way to tell and no way to adjust it? Okay.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: (Inaudible.)

Q: The in-flight time of the -- (inaudible) -- again? (Laughter.)

STAFF: The total flight time of --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The interceptor was about eight minutes.

Q: Eight minutes.

Q: (Inaudible) -- a question. Let me ask you: The BMC3 -- Boeing is responsible for the BMC3, overall, isn't --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Boeing is responsible for the entire system as the lead systems integrator. TRW is a major subcontractor involved in the development of the BMC3.

Q: Who is responsible for the IR on the kill vehicle?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: The IR on the kill vehicle? -- is a Raytheon kill vehicle.

Q: All that is Raytheon, including the --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yes, ma'am?

Q: Could you tell us the cost of this experiment, and how much burned up in the atmosphere or is now sitting at the bottom of the ocean?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: How much --

Q: How many dollars?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: How many dollars did we burn up?

Q: Yes.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Uh, yeah. This is -- if you take the ground test, the test preparation, the actual conducting of the test and the hardware, we estimate this is a $100 million test.

That's a lot of testing, a lot of time and a lot of people, but --

Q: So it wasn't just a twenty-minute test?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Oh, no, no.

Q: For those people on Kwajalein it was several months or so?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: No, it was several -- you know, it's a three-month campaign minimum to get to this test.

Q: How much for the entire -- (inaudible)?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I don't know.

Q: How will this affect the third -- (inaudible)?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: I'm sorry?

Q: Do you know yet? Do you -- excuse me -- do you know how this will affect the third test? Are you going ahead, as of now, with the third test?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: As of now we have not changed any plans for the third test. We have got to take all that data and figure out what if any corrective actions need to be made and proceed from there.

Q: Can you take a tour right now of what the post-flight analysis coming up -- you know, who's going to do that, when you think you may have a full report on this. And does the telemetry data that you got appear to be good enough to be able to -- (inaudible).

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Let me point out one thing: see the secondary objective, "Collect data." You know, what engineers ask -- they have two questions: one, does it hit; two, was the data good? The data was apparently extremely good. All the telemetry channels -- I say "all" -- the telemetry channels looked good, the surrogates were good, the airborne and other sensors were active. We got a lot of good data to go look at. That's the good news. The bad news is, we've got a lot of good data to go look at.

Q: There's a lot of debate about whether this could be called a fully-integrated systems test. Had it hit, were the other pieces sufficiently employed to have called it --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Had it hit, what we would have done is, we would have done the data analysis, and then based upon the post-flight analysis on what worked and how the surrogates, how we used the surrogates, then the determination would be made based on post-flight analysis, whether this had been an integrated systems test or not.

Q: Is it still possible to look at that data and see that it was a successful integrated systems test, even though there wasn't an intercept?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Interesting question. I don't know. You know, from a technical, from a geek perspective?

Q: Yeah.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: You know, I said the other day, you know, a miss doesn't necessarily mean a failure; a hit doesn't necessarily mean success.

Q: Right.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: What we really need to do is we need to get all that good telemetry data and just -- and figure out with a degree of confidence, what happened, how we are going to fix it.

Q: On these --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: There's one in the back, I have ignored him.

Q: That's all right.

Q: Is it your sense that you'll be able to overcome these technological challenges for the next test, or is the schedule too rigorous?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: A two-part question: "Can we overcome this technical challenge?" Absolutely. "The schedule?" Too early too tell.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yes, sir?

Q: Did I hear you say correctly that this is the first time that we used the IR sensors on the EKV?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: No.

Q: Okay.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yes, sir?

Q: Do you think you'll have to delay the shipment of the EKV -- (inaudible)?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: We have not changed any schedules. We have got to get this information and determine what happened, why it happened, and then make a determination if there will be any impact on the shipment.

Yes, sir?

Q: Do you have a general idea for how long, after the intercept should have taken place, were you still able to collect data from the EKV; that was still going in space, that it might help you address what the problems were?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: A good question. I don't know why I am -- you know, we don't turn of telemetry stream. So as long as it's got battery life, yeah, I am sure it was transmitting, and it will be looked at.

Q: Are you still planning on doing a test for April, May? Or is that --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: No, we have not made any adjustments to any schedules as a result.

MR. BACON: (Inaudible) -- from the audience. We have got to take this question. Then --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, I'd -- this is a good thing. (Laughs.)

Q: Under the two-kills-out-of-three-tests rule -- I just want to make sure I understood what you were saying before about judging this as an integrated test. Is there -- I mean, this clearly does not -- there is no way -- confidence to kill, right? The question -- and under the two-out-of-three rule, the next test has to produce an intercept. Is that -- I just want to make sure my understanding of how this thing was set up was correct.

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Our goal -- and I want to say -- our goal is to get an intercept.

Q: But in terms of your feasibility study and this question of producing, as I understood it, two intercepts out of these three tests; regardless of how you judge whether this was an integrated flight test or not, there's no way it counts against that goal. Is that correct?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: You know, I hate to answer any question that has "no way" associated with it -- (laughs). I don't know the answer to the question. I really don't. As a purist, you know, was this an intercept? No. Do we need an intercept for the next one? Sure. That's going to be our objectives going into the next test.

MR. BACON: Last question.

Q: Do you have any data on the IFICS [in-flight intercept communications system] and how that worked in the shadow mode?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Oh, the IFICS? Oh, yes. Excellent. Let me check my cheat sheet. Again -- and I won't even cite the preliminary, because, you know, these are good questions, and quite honestly I had some of the same questions. Looks like the IFICS --

Q: Could you explain --

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: Oh, IFICS? Acronyms. IFICS is the in-flight communication system. That's the little radar that in the -- not the radar, a little com antenna -- that will talk to the interceptor on the way out. Remember I talked, that was the difference between this test and five? In five we'll use the IFICS -- in-flight interception communications system. All right, for this test, we didn't have the in-flight interception communications system in line. It was on-line, it was radiating, it was taking information from the BMC3, and it was talking as if -- in fact, it was talking. The issue was that the interceptor didn't have a receiver to hear it. (Inaudible) -- and I'm going to use that coined phrase that the IFICS transmitted and it actually did TOMs, which is target object maps, which in an operational system and in later tests could be transmitted to the kill vehicle after it separates. Remember, for this test, once the kill vehicle separated, there was no communications? Well, when we get a receiver on the kill vehicle, we can actually receive target object updates to the kill vehicle after it separates. And it actually computed those, transmitted, and they appeared -- and I emphasize "appeared" -- to be nominal.

Q: Would you use it in that mode in IFT-5 [integrated flight test 5], or would that come later in the test program, the post-separation IFICS?

SR. MILITARY OFFICIAL: That would be yet to be determined.


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