Upcoming MDA flight and Intercept Tests (March 27, 2019)(Revised)

Now that the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) budget materials are available, I have compiled a list of MDA’s planned flight tests and intercept tests out through 2024 (there is one test listed for 1Q FY2025).   These tests are listed in the two tables below, along with whatever other information about each test that I have been able to find (and sometimes some speculation). (Revision: at the end of the post I have repeated both tables in an easier to read (I think) format)

Two points about these tables:

(1) In the past several years, there have been very few Patriot tests listed, presumably because most of these tests are conducted by the U.S. Army, not by the MDA (except for Patriots participating in integrated intercept tests). This year, however, there are 13 Patriot flight or intercept tests listed.  All of the ones in FY 2020, and likely all of them except for the one in the integrated test FTO-03, appear to be associated with a U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Joint Emergent Operational Need (JEON) Statement.  JEON is focused on near term improvements to U.S. missile defense in South Korea and the program was assigned to MDA, together with the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Program Office (LTPO).  According the MDA’s FY 2020 Budget Overview: “Finally MDA continues development efforts associated with USFK JEON that provides enhanced THAAD capability against specific USFK threats, integrates THAAD’s capability to detect and track threat ballistic missiles at long ranges [for use] with the Patriot Advanced Capability – 3 Missile Segment Enhancement (PAC-3 MSE) to take advantage of its full kinematic capability, integrate MSE launchers and missiles into the THAAD weapon system, and accelerates initial capability to [use] remote launchers and increase defended area.”  With the exception of FTO-03, I have put all the Patriot tests into a separate Table 2.

(2) The budget materials show one “Israeli Cooperative Intercept Flight Test” per year from FY 2019 to FY 2024. However, each of these “tests” span an entire year, and each is apparently a series of tests rather than a single test.  The FY 2020 MDA Budget Overview says:  “In FY 2020, the MDA budget will also support several flight tests across the Israeli portfolio.”  Since I cannot (yet, at least) associate tests with particular dates and systems, I have not included these in the tables.

Table 1: Upcoming MDA Flight/Intercept Tests

Designation Date (FY) Description/Comments
FS-19 E4 3Q 2019 DT intercept test as part of NATO Formidable Shield exercise in the Atlantic. Likely SM-6 or SM-3 Block IB.
FTM-31 E1 4Q 2019 DT/OT salvo intercept of MRBM by SM-6 Dual II interceptors
FTM-31 E2 4Q 2019 Aegis DT intercept test?
FTT-23 4Q 2019 THAAD intercept test demonstrating remote launch
FTM-32 2Q 2020 DT/OT salvo intercept of MRBM by SM-6 Dual II interceptors
FTM-33 2Q 2020 DT/OT SM-6 interception of multiple SRBMs
FTM-44 2Q 2020 SM-3 Block IIA intercept test.  Likely this is the Congressionally-mandated test against an ICBM.
FTM-30 4Q 2020 DT/OT SM-3 Block IIA intercept of MRBM with countermeasures
FTO-03 4Q 2020 OT integrated intercept test for EPAA Phase3. Patriot intercept +THAAD intercept of IRBM + 2 SM-3 Block IIA intercepts of IRBMs.  One Block IIA Launched from a ship, one from the test Aegis Ashore site in Hawaii.
GM BVT-03 4Q 2020 Flight test of GBI booster with 2/3 stage selection capability. No target.
TH CTV-01 1Q 2021 DT THAAD test flight.  No target.  Involves Army LTPO.  May be part of USFK JEON?
JMTF-07 E1 2Q 2021 US/Japan DT intercept test.  Possibly SM-3 Block IIA or SM-6?
JMTF-07 E2 2Q 2021 US/Japan DT intercept test.  Possibly SM-3 Block IIA or SM-6?
FTT-21 2Q 2021 DT THAAD intercept test.
FS-21 E4 4Q 2021 DT intercept test as part of NATO Formidable Shield exercise in the Atlantic.
GM CTV-03 2Q 2022 GMD flight test . First flight test of Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV).  No target.
FTM-38 4Q 2022 DT/OT Aegis intercept test
FTM-37 1Q 2023 OT Aegis intercept test
FTG-17 1Q 2023 DT GMD intercept test.  First RKV intercept test
FTT-24 3Q 2023 DT THAAD intercept test
FTM-43 4Q 2023 DT/OT Aegis intercept test
FS-23 E4 4Q 2023 DT intercept test as part of NATO Formidable Shield exercise in the Atlantic.
FTG-18 1Q 2024 DT/OT GMD intercept test.  Second RKV intercept test
FTM-40 2Q 2024 DT/OT Aegis intercept test
FTG-19 1Q 2025 DT/OT GMD intercept test

DT = developmental test, OT = operational test

Table 2: Patriot Tests

Designation Date (FY) Description/Comments
FTP-21 2Q 2020 DT Patriot intercept test
FTP-27 E1 2Q 2020 DT/OT Patriot flight test, demonstrating interoperability with THAAD system.
FTP-27 E2 3Q 2020 DT/OT Patriot flight test.  Same objective as E1?
FTP-17 3Q 2020 DT Patriot intercept test
FTP-22 3Q 2020 OT Patriot intercept test
FTP-23 3Q 2021 DT/OT Patriot flight test.
FTP-28 3Q 2021 OT Patriot intercept test
FTP-25 4Q 2021 OT Patriot intercept test
FTP-24 4Q 2021 DT Patriot intercept test
FTP-18 2Q 2022 OT Patriot intercept test
FTP-19 2Q 2022 DT Patriot intercept test
FTP-20 2Q 2022 OT Patriot intercept test

UpcomingFlights1-April2019

UpcomingFlights2-March 2019

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