update on national missile defense interceptor test
- = N E W S R E L E A S E
= OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
= (PUBLIC AFFAIRS)
= WASHINGTON, D.C. 20301
= PLEASE NOTE DATE
July 8, 2000
UPDATE ON NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE INTERCEPT TEST
The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's (BMDO) National Missile Defense
(NMD) Joint Program Office announced today that preliminary analysis from
the planned intercept of a ballistic missile target early this morning over
the central Pacific Ocean concluded that no separation occurred between the
Payload Launch Vehicle (PLV) booster rocket, and the Exoatmospheric Kill
Vehicle (EKV). Reports from program officials indicate that while the first
and second stages of the booster separated successfully, the PLV started to
tumble slowly after it made an energy management maneuver designed to keep
it safely within the confines of the missile test range. The second anomaly
was that the EKV never received a message from the PLV indicating that the
second stage rocket motor had completed its propellant burn. Receipt of
this signal is required for the EKV to separate and perform its intercept
function. Initial cooldown of the EKV's infrared sensors and all other
functions of the!
EKV were performing as designed up to the point where separation was to
All other elements, including the sensors, the in-flight interceptor
communications system (IFICS) and the battle management, command and control
and communication systems performed as expected. Preliminary indications
are that the prototype X-band radar at Kwajalein Atoll performed well and
discriminated the mock warhead from all other objects, including the debris
from an improperly inflated decoy balloon.
Government and industry program officials will conduct a thorough review of
the test data to determine the reason for the anomalies and any other test
objectives that were or were not met. It will be at least several days
until this review is completed.
The flight test began with the launch of a modified Minuteman
intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a target warhead from
Vandenberg AFB, Calif., at 12:19 a.m. EDT, and the PLV with the EKV on board
was launched approximately 20 minutes later about 4,300 miles away from
Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Additional information about the overall NMD program can be obtained by
accessing the BMDO website at
Intelligence Analyst - NightFall Security Group
1 (877) 863-8300 ext.438 - voicemail/fax
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