Fourteen claims about GMD Effectiveness (The 13th one is the most accurate) (April 27, 2012)

Fourteen claims about GMD Effectiveness (The 13th one is the most accurate):

(1) April 13, 2011: The posture we have today is one that has us well-protected against the initial ICBMs that might be deployed by states like North Korea and Iran with — that are few in number, relatively slow and lack sophisticated countermeasures.”[1]  Bradley Roberts, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy.

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Telemetry Problems in GMD Tests. When Were They Discovered? Did they Affect the Assessment of FTG-02? (April 24, 2012)

In May 2008, MDA cancelled the planned GMD test FTG-04, which would have been the third intercept test of an operational GBI interceptor.  MDA told GAO that the interceptor telemetry problem that led to this cancellation was discovered in February 2008, but MDA knew about telemetry problems with the interceptor by at least December 2006.  Could the telemetry problem have played a role in the classification of the earlier intercept FTG-02 as a “successful intercept?”

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What does “successful intercept” mean? Maybe not what you think. (April 19, 2012)

What happened with FTG-02?  And what does “successful intercept” mean?

The Missile Defense Agency has long claimed that the first intercept test using the operational version of the Ground-Based Interceptor of its GMD national missile defense system resulted in a “successful intercept.”  But the Pentagon’s own test and evaluation office recently revealed that the interceptor actually failed to kill its target. 

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Table of Radar Sensors in Operationally-Configured GMD Intercept Tests (April 13, 2012)

Participation by Radar Sensors in GMD  Intercept Tests Using Operationally-Configured Interceptors

            –PAVE PAWS radars in AK and MA are not yet part of GMD system

            –BMEWS radars in Greenland and Britain on wrong side of planet for these tests.

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Space Surveillance Sensors: SSN Phased-Array Radars Overview Table (April 13, 2012)

Tabular Overview of SSN Phased Array Radars

For details and references, see posts on individual systems.

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Space Surveillance Sensors: The PAVE PAWS and BMEWS Radars (April 12, 2012)

PAVE PAWS

Background                                                                                                                            

Two PAVE PAWS (FPS-115) ballistic missile early warning radars are located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (41.75˚E, 70.54˚W, oriented east), and at Beale Air Force Base in California (39,14˚N, 121.35˚W, oriented west).  A third radar, the BMEWS (Ballistic Missile Early Warning System) radar at Clear, Alaska (64.30˚N, 149.19˚W, oriented north) appears to be essentially identical to the two PAVE PAWS and so is discussed with them. All three radars are collateral sensors in the SSN.   PAVE PAWS radars in Georgia and Texas were deactivated in the mid-1980s and parts from these radars were used in building the Alaska radar. 

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Space Surveillance Sensors: The Cobra Dane Radar (April 12, 2012)

Background

Cobra Dane (AN/FPS-108) is a large and powerful phased-array radar located on Shemya Island at the western end of the Aleutian Island chain (52.7º N, 174.1º E).[1]  The radar’s boresite is at 319º (that is 41º west from due north) at 20º above the horizon. Its primary mission when deployed was the monitoring of Soviet ballistic missile test flights, with secondary missions of early warning and space surveillance.  It became operational in 1977, and underwent a modernization in the early 1990s and a number of enhancements subsequently. 

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Space Surveillance Sensors: The PARCS (Cavalier) Radar (April 12, 2012)

Background

The PARCS radar (AN/FPQ-16), located at Cavalier Air Force Station in Northern North Dakota (48.7˚ N, 97.9˚ W), was built as part of the Safeguard ballistic missile defense system, in which it was known as the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System (PARCS).[1]  When Safeguard was shut down in early 1976, after only a few months of operation, the radar continued to operate in missile warning (its new primary mission) and satellite tracking modes.  The radar is a collateral sensor in the SSN network.

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Space Surveillance Sensors: The FPS-85 Radar (April 12, 2012)

Background

The FPS-85 has been described as the workhorse of the SSN, and is the largest, most sensitive and most important (for space surveillance purposes) of the SSN’s LPARs.  It is one of the three dedicated radar sensors in the SSN (the others are the Air Force Fence and the GLOBUS II dish antenna radar in Norway).  The radar is located in Eglin, Florida (and thus sometimes referred to as the Eglin Radar) at about 30.6° N (30.57N, 86.22 E) and points directly south. 

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What’s the difference between a CE-I and CE-II EKV? (April 3, 2012)

What’s the Difference between a CE-I and CE-II EKV?

There are two variants of the Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) currently deployed.

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