SIU-Crewed SBX Assists in Missile Defense Drill


August 2014


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A unique SIU-crewed vessel recently assisted in a successful exercise conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.


The TOTE Services-operated SBX – an abbreviation for sea-based X-band radar platform – tracked the target and relayed information June 22 as the U.S. military tested part of its ballistic missile defense system. Participants included the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, the U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Navy.


According to the MDA, during the test, a long-range ground-based interceptor that was launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The test, designated Flight Test Ground- Based Interceptor-06b, “will provide the data necessary to assess the performance of numerous Ballistic Missile Defense System elements for homeland defense,” the agency reported.


Navy Vice Adm. James D. Syring, MDA director, said, “I am very proud of the government and industry team conducting the test today. Their professionalism and dedication made this test a success.”


He added, “This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic missile defense system. We’ll continue efforts to ensure our deployed ground-based interceptors and our overall homeland defensive architecture continue to provide the warfighter an effective and dependable system to defend the country.”


For this exercise, both the SBX and the Navy destroyer USS Hopper tracked the target. According to the MDA, the Seafarers-crewed vessel “relayed information to the ground-based midcourse defense fire control system to assist in the target engagement and collect test data.”


The interceptor was launched approximately six minutes after the target was sent airborne. It utilized a three-stage booster rocket system to maneuver into position to collide with the target. U.S. Army soldiers from the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, located at Schriever AFB, Col., remotely launched the interceptor.


“Initial indications are that all components performed as designed,” the MDA added. “Program officials will spend the next several months conducting an extensive assessment and evaluation of system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.”


Similar exercises have been conducted by the U.S. 81 times since 2001. Sixty-five of those drills were deemed successful.

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