U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

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Missile Defense Agency

MDA News Release

5700 18th Street, Bldg 245
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5573

Ground-based Midcourse Defense System Conducts Successful Flight Test

January 28, 2016

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Northern Command, today conducted a non-intercept flight test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). A long-range ground-based interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., successfully evaluating performance of alternate divert thrusters for the system’s Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle. 

During the test, a target representing an intermediate-range ballistic missile was air-launched from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft over the broad ocean area west of Hawaii. An Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control Model 2 (AN/TPY-2) radar in Forward Based Mode, located at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, detected the target and relayed target track information to the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communication system. The Sea-Based X-band radar, positioned in the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii, also acquired and tracked the target. The GMD system received track data and developed a fire control solution to engage the target. The test also included a demonstration of technology to discriminate countermeasures carried by the target missile.

A three-stage Ground-Based Interceptor was launched from Vandenberg AFB, performed fly-out, and released a Capability Enhancement-II Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle. The kill vehicle performed scripted maneuvers to demonstrate performance of alternate divert thrusters. Upon entering terminal phase, the kill vehicle initiated a planned burn sequence to evaluate the alternate divert thrusters until fuel was exhausted, intentionally precluding an intercept. 

Program officials will evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test. Engineering data from this test will be used to increase confidence for future GMD intercept missions. This test is designated Ground-based Midcourse Defense Controlled Test Vehicle-02+. 

The GMD element of the integrated BMDS provides Combatant Commanders the capability to engage and destroy limited intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile threats in space to protect the United States. 

Additional information about all elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System can be found here.