Press Release

Vandenberg launches Scud missiles on data-seeking mission

By SpaceRef Editor
November 25, 2002
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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The Missile Defense Agency launched the second of two Scud missiles Nov. 25 from here to learn more about the infamous Persian Gulf killer.

The agency is collecting data to aid in the development of missile defense technologies designed to intercept and destroy Scuds and Scud-type missiles before they can reach their intended targets.

Both were launched from transporter-erector launchers on Vandenberg. The first was launched Nov. 14. The agency launched the 36-foot, short-range missiles, complete with mock warhead, to learn more about the missileís flight characteristics.

Before the launches, technicians placed a variety of sensors on the Scud to collect data on the speed, attitude, altitude, engine burn rate and other flight characteristics.

According to base officials, the first missile flew approximately 115 miles into the Western Range at an altitude of 150,000 feet until final splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. The launches did not involve an intercept attempt.

The Scud launch is part of a three-year research program.

Data from the two launches here as well as other program tests will be released in a report in fall 2003, said MDA spokesman, Chris Taylor.

This test was the first time a Scud has been launched from Vandenberg. It’s the first time MDA, formerly the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, has launched a Scud since 1997, when Scuds were launched as targets to test the defensive Patriot Advanced Capability-2 system.

“It helps us when weíre developing the advanced Patriot (missile),” said Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, MDA spokesman. “The Scud is the most proliferated missile in the world. More than 20 countries have them. That’s the one youíll be up against.”

SpaceRef staff editor.