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Antimissile System's Functionality Questioned

Photonics Spectra
Oct 2001
Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, has announced that this month's test of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Segment (formerly National Missile Defense) antimissile system will be a repeat of the July 14 test. Kadish has acknowledged that he is not confident of the "basic functionality" of the system.

techQuestionedThe July test has come under scrutiny since the organization admitted that the target carried a beacon that guided the interceptor rocket to the proper orbit. In an Aug. 9 press conference, Maj. Gen. Willie B. Nance, program executive officer for the project, claimed that the C-band transponder was included to supplement incomplete radar coverage. According to Nance, there will be no coverage for the midcourse segment of an incoming warhead's flight until 2004 or 2005.

The exoatmospheric kill vehicle, which identifies, tracks and intercepts its target using multispectral infrared cooled focal plane arrays, did not rely on information from the transponder, Nance said.

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