WASHINGTON The Pentagon said Thursday (Nov. 29) that it will conduct its seventh flight test of the missile defense system on Saturday (Dec. 1) over the Pacific Ocean.
The developmental flight test includes a planned interception of a ballistic missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization said the modified Minuteman II missile will carry a mock warhead and a single decoy.
About 20 minutes after launch of the target missile, scheduled for sometime between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Pacific time, an interceptor is to be launched from a U.S. test facility at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. If the interceptor's sensors spot the target warhead, its destruction should take place about 10 minutes later about 140 miles over the central Pacific during the midcourse phase of the target's flight.
The last integrated flight test of the entire U.S. missile defense system in July was termed a success by the Pentagon. Nevertheless, critics complain the tests lack realism because they do not involve multiple decoys that an actual system would likely encounter, for example.