Production Decision for Missile-Interceptor Hinges on Review of Failed Test

Full-rate production of a missile-interceptor planned for fielding in Romania next year remains on hold, pending an ongoing Pentagon review of test results.

The Defense Department's operational test and evaluation office has yet to wrap up its analysis of the Standard Missile 3 Block 1B, office spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea told Inside Defense last week.

The testing office is still waiting for the results of an official assessment into the reasons why a Block 1B missile failed to perform properly during a September 2013 salvo test. The trial was declared a success because one of the other launched interceptors destroyed the tactical missile target.

Congressional auditors in April said the reason for the interceptor misfiring could be the fault of the third-stage rocket motor. If that finding is validated, design modifications to the component and alterations to its production process might be warranted, according to information provided by the Missile Defense Agency to the Government Accountability Office.

Initial deployment of the Block 1B interceptor, which is designed to destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, has begun on U.S. Aegis warships. More deployments are planned for 2015 in Romania as part of the United States' contribution to NATO missile defense.

July 29, 2014
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Full-rate production of a missile-interceptor planned for fielding in Romania next year remains on hold, pending an ongoing Pentagon review of test results.

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