At Least the Radar and FCS Work

Chalk One Up for the Missile Defense Program: The Missile Defense Agency tested USAF’s Cobra Dane Radar at Shemya, Alaska, in conjunction with the fire control system for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense element. An Air Force C-17 airlifter flying over the Pacific about 800 miles from Shemya, dropped (yes, dropped a ballistic missile), which proceeded to its target. The Cobra Dane tracked the missile and fed data to technicians in Colorado Springs, Colo., manning the FCS and controlling the interceptors now deployed in Alaska and California. The test was the first in which MDA testers fed data from an actual missile tracked in flight by Cobra Dane into the missile defense FCS to develop a firing solution, according to an MDA statement. For an actual missile attack, the system would merge Cobra Dane data with that from other sensors—space-based, sea-based, and ground-based—to obtain a solution to shootdown the missile.