!!! TESTING !!!

One BMD List reader shaped the electrons thus:

>I think BMD list subscribers would be highly interested in the details of
>your claim that BMDO/SDIO tests of TMD and NMD interceptors are
>2 for 14. Could you provide details (e.g., dates, what interceptor systems,
>test objectives, justification for your assertion that a test "failed").

The primary source for this box score is a viewgraph from DOD @

Our box.score of 2 of 14 counts high-altitude hit-to-kill, while this chart also includes some low endo FLAG/ERINT/PAC-3 tests, which are a different kettle of fish from both a technical and policy perspective. We are in the process of putting together a more extensive resource listing dates, etc, but this is still in progress. When we are done, I think that the test record will show that the low-endo systems have had a fair track record, and the high/exo systems have had a pretty dismal record [worse than even I, sworn foe of Star Wars, would have anticipated].

I will state for the record that I think that this is something of an optical illusion. As is well known, missile/rocket programs have high infant mortality rates, which is why you can always book a cheap flight on the initial launch of any new launch vehicle [such as Ariane 5 of illustrious memory]. At least part of the problem with the high/exo programs is that they never seem to make it outta infancy. HOE and THAAD had [to date] only four intercept tests, and GBI and LEAP not even this many. OTOH, the lower tier systems have had upwards of a dozen apiece.

All of this is not to say that they won't eventually hit a bullet with a bullet in high/exo, but it is to say that they have yet to do so, which suggests to me that "buy before you fly" is a rather risky course, and that effectivedefenses [that one-word term of art] remain a future potential rather than a present reality].

As for the question of "test objectives, justification for ... assertion that a test failed" I take the res ipsa loquitur [pardon my French ... Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur!] threshold criteria of whether the target was hit by the kill vehicle. Hughes takes another view

With the claim that "Overall, the Navy LEAP test program was a clear success: 42 of the 43 objectives were achieved." The only problem is that, as far as I can figure, the one remaining test objective that was not achieved was actually intercepting a target.

Your mileage may vary, and I would welcome any rejoinders that anyone might like to have passed along to the BMD-List readership.