Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

(Flashback) Missile Defense Test Failed As Support Arm In Silo Failed To Clear: General ^ | Mar 10, 2005 | none shown

Posted on 09/03/2006 4:00:19 PM PDT by AFPhys

An interceptor missile failed to fire in a missile defense test last month because a support arm in the silo did not clear when it was supposed to, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Air Force Lieutenant General Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said the program to field a system capable of intercepting long-range ballistic missiles was going through "a period of disappointment."

"The hard things about missile defense we are accomplishing. The easy things is what we are having trouble with, like arms moving out of the way," he told reporters.

The interceptor missile has now failed to launch in two successive tests because of what officials described as relatively minor glitches.

Obering said that in the latest test on February 14 the interceptor missile shut down when a support arm in the silo failed to move out of the way prior to launch.

Three arms are positioned around the interceptor missile in the silo. Just before launch they are lifted out of the way like a drawbridge, he said.

"In the case of the last flight test in February, one of those arms did not completely clear, and therefore the signal was sent to the fire control system to stop the launch," he said.

Experts still do not know why the arm failed to retract, or what the implications are for the eight interceptor missiles already installed in silos in Alaska and California.

"I'm very, very disappointed in this last test because of the simplicity of the failure, and the fact that it was a glitch that really got in out way," the general said said.

A flight test on December 15 was aborted because of a software glitch.

The interceptor missile shut down in that test when an internal safety device on the interceptor detected an anomaly in electronic message traffic between the flight computer and the thrust vector controller, which guides the missile.

Obering said he has chartered an independent review of the testing program to try to determine why the failures weren't caught in time, and how they can be prevented in the future.

He also appointed Rear Admiral Kathleen Paige, who heads a separate program to develop a sea-based missile defense system, as director of mission readiness to get the testing program for the ground-based system back on track.

The next flight test could be held as early as the end of April if the underlying cause is identified quickly, he said.

The Pentagon had expected to put the ground-based missile defense system into operation by the end of last year, but that has been delayed indefinitely.

Obering, however, said missile defense crews in Alaska and California can now shift the ground-based system from a test mode to an operational posture in a matter of minutes as a result of "shakedown" exercises.

"When we started the process back in October it was taking us hours to be able to make that transition. We've worked that down to minutes, and we continue to refine the procedures for that," he said.

The February 14 flight test was not a complete loss, according to Obering.

Radar and other sensors tracked a target missile that was fired from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Fire control computers generated a "weapons task plan" that was relayed and accepted by the interceptor missile before it shut down.

Obering also highlighted the successful intercept on February 24 of a short range missile by a Standard Missile-3 interceptor fired by Aegis destroyer in the Pacific.

It was the fifth successful test of the sea-based system. But it marked the first use in a test of operational versions of the SM-3 missile and the Aegis missile defense system.

Paige said the Aegis destroyer received no warning of the missile shot, which was fired from just over 100 miles away.

"We hit the warhead of the threat missile right where we needed to, right where we expected to," she said.

The test was the centerpiece of a three week naval exercise called Stellar Dragon which involved a mock war a sea with two Aegis warships, submarines and gunboats.

It has come amid tensions with North Korea, which said this week that it was no longer bound by a moratorium on missile tests that it has observed since September 1999.

Paige said the navy has four operational SM-3 missiles available in case of a crisis.

"If called upon in an emergency, that system can deploy and defend against short, medium range ballistic missiles," Paige said.

"The hammer isn't cocked but if you cock it, they will be loaded," she said.

Seven Aegis warships have been modified for missile defense missions, several of which are stationed in the western Pacific. Obering said they are equipped to track missiles with their Spy-1 radars but not to engage them.

TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: alaska; hinge; korea; missiledefense; rusty; rustyhinge; sdi; starwars; usaf
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-31 last
To: RightWhale
You ain't kidding!

However, I searched all the title variations I could think of, and four "keyword" searches looking at all the articles that appeared relevant, and didn't see anything...

Anyway, I'm glad for your "they've been replaced" note. It is funny how even some "stainless steels" are prone to rusting, and some even prone to being magnetized... unusual, but not unheard of.

As I said, it probably cost them all of a few bucks to replace these hinges and move on with our continued impressive American performance of Reagan's Star Wars!
21 posted on 09/03/2006 4:56:41 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: AFPhys

Thanks for highlighting the reason for the failure.

It is important to get the story out there.

22 posted on 09/03/2006 4:57:34 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: AFPhys

Metallurgy is an art. I tried the keyword thing for the first time just now. If you want to have 'rusty hinge' in it, say 'rusty,hinge' and it will be two separate words that can be searched on. There is more than one search function, one of them will search the keywords.

23 posted on 09/03/2006 4:59:25 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Tinian
NO PROBLEM: the fault was entirely MINE for not communicating very clearly that it was an old article. I anticipated such a reaction by some people, and it was my intention while I was thinking about posting this that I immediately make such a statement, but then in the "heat of battle" I forgot to do so.

Again, I'm sorry to you and others who might feel at all embarrassed about pulling the trigger so quickly.
24 posted on 09/03/2006 5:00:56 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Pukin Dog

That's ok. LET the mainscream media keep reporting to their buds (America's enemies) that our missle defense doesn't work. We'll have a very 'special' surprise for our enemies if/when they decide to try to attack us. (hint: we no doubt have a LOT of weapons 'they' don't know about...and we intend to keep it that way...we just need to make sure the socialist DemRats, America's enemy within) don't find out.)

There was a fabulously successful test 3 DAYS AGO! So the drive-by media decides to drum up a failure from last month instead.

25 posted on 09/03/2006 5:03:12 PM PDT by XenaLee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale

I thought most of our stuff is pretty hardened. Isn't half of it optical by now, anyways? I know alot of the spysats are.

26 posted on 09/03/2006 5:04:57 PM PDT by djf (Some people say we evolved. I say "Some did, some didn't!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
"Metallurgy is an art": Don't I know it!

I've been trained in Materials Science, and it is incredibly complex, even steels and concretes - materials everybody believes they have some understanding of.

27 posted on 09/03/2006 5:07:09 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: AFPhys

No problem.
Thanks for the clarification.

28 posted on 09/03/2006 5:09:32 PM PDT by Cindy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: djf

It isn't only a matter of "frying" our own gear.

In addition, there would be more difficulty in monitoring the environment for some period of time.

Besides the political problems and such questions, why would we bother launching a nuke to kill a nuke when we are able simply shoot it down "with a bullet?"

29 posted on 09/03/2006 5:11:41 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: AFPhys

Well, we might have to worry about the environment if we miss... say the "environment" of St. Louis, for instance.

I dunno, just seems to me when you're in that position, I'd have more confidence in overkill and wasting a few of our xthousand warheads than put my prayers in hitting a fly with a bb gun from five miles away.

30 posted on 09/03/2006 5:22:38 PM PDT by djf (Some people say we evolved. I say "Some did, some didn't!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: AFPhys
We had a highly successful test on THAAD (Theatre High-Altitude Area Defense) recently. I've seen the video and it was awesome. Remember there are 'layers' in the system and THAAD is one layer that WORKS.


31 posted on 09/04/2006 6:22:06 PM PDT by boris (The deadliest weapon of mass destruction in history is a leftist with a word processor.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-31 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson