July 19, 2013
Missile Defense Agency head Vice Adm. James Syring on Wednesday defended the utility of the nation’s principal system for thwarting possible ICBM attacks, saying he believes that what caused a July 5 test failure is fixable.
Syring confirmed that the launched Ground-based Interceptor failed to hit its ballistic missile target when there was a separation problem with one of the interceptor’s stages, Global Security Newswire reported on Wednesday. The GBI missile is part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which presently fields 30 silo-based interceptors in Alaska and California. Plans are in place to expand the system in coming years with 14 additional GBI missiles.
“We’ve seen separation issues in previous flight tests … earlier on in the prototype testing. And those have been corrected,” Syring said in testimony to the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. “We’ll find out what happened here, and we’ll correct this as well,” he was quoted in a Defense Department release as saying.
A comprehensive review into the root causes for the interception failure is under way.
“I am committed to conducting a full evaluation of the path ahead for the (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) program to include more regular testing, an acceleration of the [Capability Enhancement 2 exo-atmospheric kill vehicle] upgrades after intercept testing or redesign, and upgrade” of the current exo-atmospheric kill vehicle, Syring told the hearing.
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