Details of Radar Calculations (April 30, 2012)

A reader who was having difficulty reproducing the results of some radar calculations in two posts from 2012 asked if I could put up a post showing how the calculations were carried out in more detail. So I do this below:

RadarRecalculation1

Some of the above numbers come in slightly lower than in the original post, for example 860 km rather than 870 km.  Perhaps rounding off differences?

RadarRecalculation2

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MDA Fact Sheet is Back (April 23, 2018)

On April 15, I put up a blog post saying that the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) had removed from its website its Fact Sheet on missile defense testing.  The fact sheet contained tables showing the outcome of intercept tests for the GMD, Aegis BMD and THAAD systems. I explained that the fact sheet was actually still on the website, but the link to it had been removed.    However, its last update was on May 30, 2017, since which there have been seven intercept tests of the Aegis BMD and THAAD systems.  In response, I created my own version of these tables, which you can see here.

Sometime between April 15 and April 22, MDA put an updated version of this fact sheet back on its website. You can see the new MDA fact sheet here.  Since my version of the tables contains additional information, I plan to continue to update it as additional intercept tests take place.

 

 

Tables of Intercept Tests (April 15, 2018) (updated 4/22/2018)

Update (4/22/2018): Sometime after I put up this post, the MDA put a newly updated version of their testing results fact sheet back on their website.  I will still continue to update this post as new test results become available.

The Department of Defense appears to be in the process of sharply reducing publicly available information about its missile defense testing activities.  In late February, it was announced that the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) would no longer publicly provide advance information on planned missile defense tests, information that had always previously been made publicly available.  MDA Director Lt. General Samuel Greaves stated on February 22 that: “Due to the need to safeguard critical defense information, the DOD will not provide timing or test details in advance beyond the required safety notifications for any planned flight tests.”[1]

The next month it was revealed that the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) had ceased publishing an unclassified version of its annual Assessment of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, a report mandated by Congress.[2]  The last publicly available version of this Report (which is different from the brief annual assessments of specific weapons systems that are still available on the DOT&E website) is the 2015 Report, dated April 2016.  It is available here:  www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1011964.pdf.

Now it appears that the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has removed the “Ballistic Missile Defense Intercept Flight Record” fact sheet from its website.  This fact sheet covered the intercept tests of the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) national missile defense system, the SM-3, SM-6 and SM-2 Block IV interceptors of the Navy’s Aegis BMD system, and the Army’s Terminal High-Altitude Defense Defense (THAAD) interceptors (since 2006).  The fact sheet had tables for each type of interceptor with the name, date, and outcome (hit or miss) for each intercept test.  For each failure, it briefly described the cause of the failure.

The fact sheet actually is still on the website, but the link to it has been removed.  You can find it by searching for “testing record” on the MDA’s website.  However, its last update was on May 30, 2017 – the same day as FTG-15, the most recent intercept test of the GMD system (which was successful).  Since then, there have been seven intercept tests of the Aegis BMD and THAAD systems, five of which were successful.

I found this fact sheet to be useful, so I have made my own set of tables, updated to today, which are posted below.  These tables contain more information than those in the MDA fact sheet, are organized a little differently, and in one case (GMD test FTG-02) have a different outcome.  I plan to update this post as future intercept tests take place.

 

Summary Table

 

GMDInterceptTests

No Test = Target failed and interceptor was not launched.     * = MDA scores FTG-02 as a “hit” but DOT&E scores it as a “no kill” because the EKV only achieved a “glancing blow.”

 

 

AegisBlockITesting

Target: SR = short-range (< 1,000 km), MR = medium-range (1,000-3,000 KM), IR = Intermediate-range (3,000-5,500 KM), S = separating warhead, U = unitary (warhead does not separate)

No Test = Target failed and no interceptor was launched.

Salvo = two interceptors were fired and the first one hit the target.

AA = Interceptor launched from Aegis Ashore test facility in Hawaii.

TU = Threat upgrade

 

AegisBlock2Tests

Target: SR = MR = medium-range (1,000-3,000 KM), IR = Intermediate-range (3,000-5,500 KM)

AA = Interceptor launched from Aegis Ashore test facility in Hawaii.

 

THAADInterceptTests

Target: SR = short-range (< 1,000 km), MR = medium-range (1,000-3,000 KM), IR = Intermediate-range (3,000-5,500 KM), S = separating warhead, U = unitary (warhead does not separate)

No Test = Target failed and no interceptor was launched.

Salvo = two interceptors were fired and the first one hit the target.

Endo = within the atmosphere,  Exo = above the atmosphere


[1] Jason Sherman, “DOD Now Treating Missile Defense Flight Plans – Once Public – As Classified,” Inside Defense SITREP, March 1, 2018.

[2] Jason Sherman, “Pentagon Now Classifying Once-Public Report on BMDS Operational Effectiveness,” Inside Defense SITREP, March 12, 2018.