Friday, Dec 05, 2008
The Pentagon is set to conduct the 13th and most realistic test of its missile shield system to date, officials told CNN.
The first “window,” or opportunity, for the test opens at 3 p.m. ET Friday and runs through Tuesday.
Although the anti-missile system can work in any weather, the Missile Defense Agency needs a clear sky to monitor the $115 million test.
So far, the U.S. military has successfully shot down a mock warhead in space with an interceptor missile in seven tests. The interceptor carries a “kill vehicle,” which is designed to destroy the target missile by crashing into it.
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But critics have long complained the tests are not realistic, because they don’t involve balloons or other decoys that, they argue, could easily fool the interceptor.
In the upcoming test, the target will be a mock warhead accompanied by “countermeasures similar to what Iran or North Korea could deploy,” according to a missile defense agency official.
The official could not give details of the types of decoys because that information is classified, he told CNN.