Index

Defense Says Missile Intercept Test Successfu

July 15, 2001
MISSILE INTERCEPT TEST SUCCESSFUL
The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) announced today it
has successfully completed a test involving a planned intercept of an
intercontinental ballistic missile target. This test took place over
the central Pacific Ocean. A modified Minuteman intercontinental
ballistic missile (ICBM) target vehicle was launched from Vandenberg
AFB, Calif., at 10:40 p.m. EDT, (July 14) and a prototype interceptor
was launched approximately 20 minutes later and 4,800 miles away from
the Ronald Reagan Missile Site Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the
Marshall Islands. The intercept took place approximately 10 minutes
after the interceptor was launched, at an altitude in excess of 140
miles above the earth, and during the midcourse phase of the target
warhead's flight.
The test successfully demonstrated for a second time exoatmospheric
kill vehicle (EKV) flight performance and "hit to kill" technology to
intercept and destroy a long-range ballistic missile target. In
addition to the EKV locating, tracking, and intercepting the target
resulting in its destruction using only the body-to-body impact, this
test also demonstrated the ability of system elements to work together
as an integrated system. The test involved the successful integrated
operation of space and ground-based sensors and radars, as well as the
Battle Management, Command Control and Communications (BMC3) function
to detect the launch of the target missile, cue an early warning radar
to provide more detailed target location data; and integration of a
prototype X-Band radar (based at Kwajalein) to provide precise target
data to the EKV, which received the target updates from the In-Flight
Interceptor Communications Systems (IFICS) at Kwajalein.
The EKV separated from its rocket booster more than 1,400 miles from
the target warhead. After separation, it used its on-board infrared
and visual sensors, augmented with the X-Band radar data provided by
BMC3 via the In-flight Interceptor Communications System, to locate
and track the target. Sensors aboard the EKV also successfully
selected the target instead of a large balloon, which functioned as a
decoy. Only system generated data was used for the intercept after the
EKV separated from its booster rocket.
Tonight's test is part of a robust and on-going testing program that
is a layered approach to defense, using different missile
architectures to deter the growing threat of ballistic missiles and
other weapons of mass destruction. This is an aggressive research and
development program that will lead to the defense of the American
homeland as soon as possible against the very real threats of the 21st
century.
Over the next several weeks, government and industry program officials
will conduct an extensive analysis of the data received during the
flight test to determine whether anomalies or malfunctions occurred
during the test, evaluate system performance and determine whether or
not all flight test objectives were met. Since the system is in the
developmental phase of design and testing, performance of individual
elements and the overall system integration was as important as the
actual intercept.