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ABM | Budgets | Issues - Political | Lobbying | New Systems Tech | Policy - Procurement | Project Management | Testing & Evaluation | Think Tanks | USA

US Missile Defense Shifting Toward More Realistic Testing?

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JS Kongo fires SM-3(click to view full) In light of a recent ballistic missile intercept by a Japanese destroyer, US Missile Defense Agency chief Lt. Gen. Henry (Trey) Obering is quoted by Aviation Week as saying it is time to incorporate more realism into the MDA’s testing process, now that basic intercepts have racked up a string of successes: “What we have to do now is to turn our attention to make sure we can fully wring out the system in a variety of operational and realistic scenarios. And that is what we will be doing over the next couple of years.” There are both technical and political dimensions to that course of action. On a technical level, one generally begins with basic tests and adds challenges only as the systems prove out in easier testing. This is simply good basic engineering. Key technical challenges that remain untested to date includes testing against some of the simpler countermeasures one might expect a nation like North Korea, Iran et. al. to deploy. Or conducting tests at night, when the Sun’s light and heat can’t intensify a re-entry vehicle’s infrared signature in space. In order to field a fully credible missile defense, […]

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