Archive for the ‘Vandenberg Air Force Base’ Category

Missile Defense Success; Urgent Need

December 9, 2008

The spectacular intercept of a long-range ballistic missile over the Pacific on Dec. 5 shows once again that the technology works. The ground-based national missile defense now has destroyed its target in eight intercept attempts. It is simply inaccurate for critics to keep saying it does not work. This defense now should be placed in Europe.

Today, 22 of these ground-based midcourse interceptors are operational in Alaska and California, protecting against North Korea and other Asian threats, and 22 more are being fielded. That technology also should be used to protect the Eastern United States and Europe against Iran and other Middle Eastern threats, by installing the interceptors planned for Poland.

By James Hackett
The Washington Times

A missile said to be a Shahab-3 being tested in 2006
The Shahab-3 is Iran’s most advanced and longest-range missile

Iran is continuing to test new solid-fuel and longer-range missiles, and experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency say Tehran already has enough fissionable material to build a nuclear warhead. But the Middle Eastern threat is wider than Iran and could include international terrorists or rogue elements in Pakistan, which already has both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

The test last week was the most challenging to date. The target missile was launched from Kodiak Island, Alaska, toward the ocean off California, where it was struck and destroyed by an interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The target was tracked by four radars on land and sea. The fire control system then combined the radar data and fed it to the interceptor, enabling the shoot-down of a complex target.

Missile defense opponents keep calling for more flight tests and oppose funding for the base in Europe until the “new” interceptors to be used there have been thoroughly tested.
Eight of the United States' 13 missile defense tests have been deemed a success.

Eight of the United States’ 13 missile defense tests have been deemed a success.

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Missile Defense Test Successful, U.S. Says

December 5, 2008

The Pentagon conducted a successful test Friday of a missile shield system designed to protect the United States against attack, spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

The test involved the interception of a long-range ballistic missile launched from Kodiak, Alaska, with a ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

An official said the target missile launched in Friday's test would have countermeasures.

An official said the target missile launched in Friday’s test would have countermeasures.

Officials said Thursday that this would be the most realistic of the 13 missile shield system tests conducted to date.

So far, the U.S. military has shot down a mock warhead in space with an interceptor missile in seven tests. The interceptor carries a “kill vehicle,” which is designed to destroy the target missile by crashing into it.

The Pentagon said this week that in Friday’s test, the target would be a mock warhead accompanied by “countermeasures similar to what Iran or North Korea could deploy,” according to a U.S. Missile Defense Agency official.

Critics have long complained that the from tests are not realistic because they don’t involve balloons or other decoys that, they argue, could easily fool the interceptor.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin listens during a nationally ... 
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin listens during a nationally televised town-hall style session in Moscow on December 4, 2008. The US military on Friday successfully intercepted a long-range missile target in a “very realistic” simulated attack to test the proposed US missile defense system, the Defense Department said.  Putin strongly opposes the missile defense plan, especially in Poland and the Czech Republic.(AFP/File/Alexey Druzhinin)

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The U.S. military conducted a successful test of its system built to knock out long-range missiles that could be fired by North Korea or Iran, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The target missile for the test over the Pacific was launched from Kodiak, Alaska and an interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, officials said. The intercept took place at 3:29 p.m. EST (2029 GMT).

Boeing Co is prime contractor for the system, called the ground-based midcourse defense.

(Reporting by David Morgan, Jim Wolf and Andrew Gray; Editing by Eric Walsh)

 U.S. military sets high-stakes missile-shield test