Testing, Testing . . .

/ February 5, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Missile Defense Agency has revamped its ground-test schedule, according to a spokesman.

In its fiscal year 2009 budget request, MDA listed three line items for ground tests dubbed "GTX-03c," scheduled for the first quarter of 2009, "GTX-09" in the second quarter of 2009 and "GTI-09" in the third quarter of 2009.

MDA conducted the first phase of GTX-03c in early December 2008, and ran "additional risk-reduction runs" late last month, according to MDA spokesman Rick Lehner:

GTX-03c simulated an engagement of an intermediate range ballistic missile target using the SM-3 interceptor and evaluated data transmission with the transportable AN/TPY-2 forward based radar. This ground test served as risk reduction for the upcoming Aegis BMD flight test FTM-15, scheduled to take place this spring.

The other two tests have been renamed as GTX-04a and GTI-04, respectively, Lehner told Inside Missile Defense today. Asked when the tests would take place, he responded: "Both ground tests are still pending determination of their final execution schedules."

GTX-04a, the first test of this campaign, will focus on theater-level missile defense capabilities, and assess the ((Ballistic Missile Defense System's)) ability to simultaneously execute multiple engagements, while integrating several BMDS elements, including PATRIOT, THAAD, Aegis BMD, AN/TPY-2 radar, and the Command Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system).

While specific test objectives for GTI-04 are still under review, "the test will assess the BMDS ability to simultaneously execute multiple engagements using both theater- and strategic-level assets," he added.

As we told you last week, MDA completed a new testing plan last November that cancels out what had been the agency's testing roadmap that had been in place since March 2005. In response to questions posed by InsideDefense.com, MDA said the change was made "to reflect the natural evolution of the agency's testing policy, which has occurred with the maturation of the ((ballistic missile defense)) system."

-- John Liang

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