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BMD Test Set For Thursday

By | August 28, 2006

      A test of the ground-based ballistic missile defense system is set for Thursday.

      The interceptor kill vehicle, which will launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base, Calif., won’t be expected to kill the target ballistic missile.

      Rather, the goal is to see whether the kill vehicle can acquire the target, identify it as a threat, and home in on it.

      If, in fact, a kill happens to ensure, that would be icing on the cake. Later this year, another test will be conducted with the goal of killing the target missile.

      The ground-based system has had problems, with glitches causing failures in recent years. In contrast, the sea-based missile defense system, using a Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] Aegis radar and weapons control system and a Raytheon Co. [RTN] interceptor missile has enjoyed repeated successes.

      On the ground-based program, The Boeing Co. [BA] is the prime contractor, and Lockheed, Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] and Raytheon also play major roles.

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