Phil Coyle, a former head of testing and evaluation at the Pentagon who has also reviewed the publicly available test data, said that instead of using decoys meant to look and act identical to the dummy nuclear warhead, the decoys looked like “specks of sand” compared to the “bright” dummy warhead. He concluded the infrared signature of the countermeasures was so low they would have been easily distinguished and avoided by the Raytheon-built (RTN.N) kill vehicle.
However, Greaves said that the “MDA tests against the types of threats we expect our adversaries could employ.”Still, Coyle said that GMD flight intercept tests are scripted for success in a variety of ways. For example, the GMD system has never succeeded in hitting its target at night, and all but one past GMD flight intercept tests have been conducted during the daytime, also taking care that the sun is not in the field of view of the kill vehicle.
Coyle said the sun could blind or confuse the infrared detectors on the kill vehicle.