> Dan:
> Where on earth did you come up with that 'shock wave' bit?

My word, not the article's. You don't need the missile to hit the incoming
vehicle, you only need to create a shock wave sufficient to
destroy/disable/deflect it, as the "3D hierarchy" puts it.

Didn't think I saw anything like that in there, and you may be right that
you don't need a direct hit to disable a vehicle, but the test in question
wasn't configured this way. It was configured as a 'hit-to-kill' test, and
succeeded; the target _was_ destroyed.

> The EKV is using
> infrared, and guides itself into the target from close range on it's own.

"Close." That's what I said. But how do you get from "close" to "bull's
Shock wave. See above.

The EKV _did_ hit the target vehicle; directly, no need for any 'shockwave'
excuse. I believe that you're thinking about the earlier failure that the
program had. This test was the repeat of the earlier one - this one
succeeded where the earlier did not. IIRC, the earlier test failed due to
the loss of a sensor, the KV could not compensate in time and so did not
actually hit the target.

> Sounds like the 'close-range' tracking is working fairly well. How are

No. The article specifically said it wasn't. It also said that even in
it would only worked if the Pentagon had 3rd party information. The article
doesn't say where that would come from, but it's basically from telemetry
information and knowledge (obtained through intelligence sources) as to
what kind
of missiles are likely to be fired from any given site and the
characteristics of
those missiles. If you don't have that int, even a working close-range
won't work.

Again, I think you're thinking about the earlier test (Don't remember when
that was specifically, sorry.)
The article from the armscontrol website specifically said "struck and
destroyed the target". This was for a test in March of this year. Your
article from the Economist said: "collided with the real one [target]" this
test was carried out in July of 2001.
In both cases, the target was destroyed.

We already have very good data on what type of rockets would be used;
missile tests are watched very closely by all countries that have that
capability; the US is only one of many. The amount of intel necessary to
effectively take out a weapon depends on what phase of the missile flight
you're going to focus on. I agree that trying to take out multiple
warheads, after a MIRV has deployed would be very difficult; not so at
mid-course, or boost phase. The mid-course testing has been very

> Dan:
> certain that these balloons that are being used are not _real_ decoys?

Balloons don't annoy people. Only gasbags do.... ;-)
Seriously, as the article *also* pointed out, "real" decoys are
cone-shaped, not
balloon-shaped. Balloons are used in very preliminary testing because you
something that's 1) airborne; 2) stays put, more or less, during the test;
3) is
cheap; and 4) is large. That's why they're using balloons at this point.
But it's
not what real MIRVs use as decoys, they use cone-shaped devices (if they
they would quickly separate from and isolate the real warhead because of
different aerodynamic characteristics of spherical objects like balloons).

And as I pointed out "real" decoys do not _need_ to be cone-shaped; only if
you're trying to fool a visual-only based system. A sensor system based on
IR or radionic output would care less if a possible target was shaped like
a cone or not; only that it had a specific 'heat' or radiation signature.
And in any case, we're talking about two different things here.

Thanks for updating me, by the way -- I really appreciated this. Am also
happy to
explain your own evidence to you. Bonus, dude! ;-)

I'm not really sure that you understood the information presented. I think
the confusion lies in where the test is taking place; we're in mid-course -
after the boost phase, but _before_ MIRV acquires it's ground targets.
We're targeting the MIRV itself, not the individual warheads. Balloons do
work in this phase because aerodynamics are not an issue. The intercept
takes place "exoatmospheric". The intent here is to mask the MIRV while it
waits for the target to rotate into position underneath it.

> Do
> you even know how they are being used?
> I did miss the quote, but I'll speculate on that a little later.

Don't understand your question. These are supposed to be part of a "missile
umbrella" against the long-distance launch from rogue states (or Texas,
too, I
suppose, although Louisiana is the roguishist state I know of...). I don't
they're worried about Iraqi clowns selling contaminated circus souvenirs.

You answered my question: you were confused about how they were being used.
The keyword here is "exoatmospheric". My question came from the statement
from the article you referenced that stated decoys must be identical in
shape to the target. That's only true if you're relying on a purely visual
recognition system. The EKV is not.

> > Dan:
> <...>
> > Could you point out where you got the information that the test firings
> > have been such abject failures?
> Marc:
> My latest information is as of 19/07/01. Sorry I have to quote the whole
> article and can't just give a URL, but it's in the subscriber area of The
> Economist:
> Dan:
> Oh goody, a clearly UNBIASED news article.

Let me guess: you think this is biased. Rather than just imply that
sarcastically, would it be too much to expect you to explain *why* you
think it's

It _is_ biased. I attempted to show where the bias is with the ALL CAPS
parts, but I guess it didn't work, sorry.

> ----
> Missile tests
> If at first you don't succeed...
> Jul 19th 2001
> >From The Economist print edition
> "A timely hit in space has helped the Pentagon's case

As critics have done in the past. Uh, Dan -- they're actually on your side
this. Read it all. But they are telling the truth -- the tests have not yet
succeeded. Some believe they never will. Some believe they could, but the
shouldn't be developing this technology. There's all kinds of biases, I
But with all due respect, I think you're being your own worst enemy here in
you're choosing to highlight from the article.

I should have CAP'D the title also...
I have read it all Marc, They are NOT telling the truth. The tests _have_
succeeded; with the exception of two. One was a failed sensor, IIRC the EKV
could not compensate in time and so did not actually hit the target, I
believe the other failed to separate from it's booster. Where is the
evidence that the later tests have not succeeded? He was completely wrong
about the decoy deployment, did you read my response to that? If not, I've
pasted it here:
"In fact, the test went according to plan-OR SO THE PENTAGON, VERY
ASSERTS. First an intercontinental ballistic missile, carrying a mock
warhead, was launched from an air base north of Los Angeles.
Simultaneously, a decoy balloon was fired in a similar direction. Then,
about 20 minutes later and 5,000 miles away, an interceptor rocket carrying
a small "kill vehicle" was unleashed from the Kwajalein atoll in the
Marshall Islands; within eight minutes, the killer had detached itself,
figured out which
was the fake target and collided with the real one at more than 16,000
miles per hour."
Dan: This is flat incorrect. The decoy was deployed by the target itself
after boost. The speeds are pretty close though.

> Dan:
> Interesting that he would quote Mr. Coyle. I wonder why he quit? Did Mr.
> Coyle approach the author of this article with this information, or did
> author seek him out for input? Why didn't he speak with the program
> to get their side of it? Could it be that he had no real interest in the
> program, but merely wanted to whitewash the successful test with negative
> spin of his own?

I'm supposed to know this? Ask The Economist or Mr. Coyle if you want to
start up
another subject other than the one we've been discussing.

IIRC, this was the same problem you had with the CNS article. Neither of us
can easily confirm what he's said here. But the main thing I noted was that
there is no by-line to this article, and there is no evidence that he
attempted to confirm any of his information with the program office. I know
for a fact that his decoy deployment information is incorrect, what else
has he whitewashed over here?

> Dan:
> > I detect some major spin here - based on
> > personal knowledge, not relying on my "right-wing" news sources.
> Marc:
> The spin, as the article clearly points out, has consistently been on the
> part of the Pentagon.
> Dan:
> Marc, the other day you criticized me for using a biased news source that
> fell beneath your expectations for 'accurate' reporting.

And I did so for one very specific reason: it used a vague source which,
when I
tried to investigate it further, appeared to be a non-existent source. The
may even have been lying, although proving that would have been akin to
proving a

And I've been able to show that the article you posted is factually
incorrect. Was the author of your article lying, or was he(she?) just
misinformed; the proof is even more difficult here because we don't even
have a name to go with it.

> Yet you seem to
> base part of your criticism of a very complex weapons program on this
> biased, factually

What are the "facts" that are wrong in the article? You didn't highlight
any. You
highlighted emotional sentences which you took to be evidence of bias.

See above, the decoy was not launched separately from the target as (s)he?
I highlighted the emotional sentences as I did because they are evidence of
bias. What other purpose do these emotional sentences have other than to
inject bias into the article? You claim that the article generally supports
my position: I disagree. The article appears to me to be criticizing the
Pentagon for apparently downplaying an obviously expensive program that is
using a questionable test regime (the "real" decoy issue.) They apparently
went out of their way to find Mr. Coyle and report on his disagreement with
their timeline to the operational tests, yet never went to the Pentagon for
a response.

> incorrect article where the author couldn't even be
> bothered to check his facts, or seek a response from the Pentagon about
> criticisms. A truthful reporter would have at least mentioned such an
> attempt.

Dan, this is getting silly. You have absolutely no idea how the author did
research. Have the guts to ask him, but don't gossip like this behind
back (I'm assuming the author isn't a subscriber to Zion-L).

You're right that I have no idea how the author went about their research -
this came from the article that _you_ presented as part of the basis for
your criticism, but I have shown that they got their facts wrong, and
question the need for comments like: "If at first you don't succeed..." and
"THIS time, nobody can accuse..." and "or so the Pentagon, very cautiously,
asserts." in an article that you are using to base your opinions on. This
article actually reads like an editorial, which are biased.

> Dan:
> I can't speak to Mr. Wolfowitz' comments other than to say that they
> to be the typical knee-jerk reaction of someone who is supposed to know
> what he's talking about, but doesn't. This is fairly common in

He's the DEPUTY DEFENCE MINISTER of the only hyperpower in the world. Think
that. Incidentally, Wolfowitz is not only on the Pentagon's side here, but
got a reputation for being a hawk.

Hawk or not, he appears to be responding to a strawman argument instead of
focusing on the facts of what's being tested here.

> So is NMD possible? All of the testing says that it is,

But by the Pentagon's admission the testing isn't even finished yet. You
given absolutely no factual basis for your assertion.

If the testing isn't finished, how can you be so certain that it's failed?
The majority of the testing to this point have been successful, as pointed
out by the article on the armscontrol site; even your article admits that
the testing has been successful, although it tries to question the validity
of those tests; based on what I don't know.
Where is your "factual basis" that the tests have failed?

> although we are not
> quite there yet.

Which of course contradicts what you just said.

Oh, I get it; you're saying that because we do not have a completed
operational system to test we cannot claim any success, and so should just
quit? That's like saying that anyone who gets a 'B' on a mid-term can't
possibly get an 'A', so should just drop out now. That would certainly
solve the school overcrowding issue.

Sometimes, Dan, an opinion is just an opinion.

All right, I believe that my opinion is based on the factual evidence of
the testing that has occurred to date. Your opinion appears to me to be
based on a flawed understanding of what is being tested. You are free to
continue to hold to that opinion, even though the tests to date have proven
that a vehicle outside the atmosphere can be detected, targeted, and
destroyed. The tests have been successful, not failures as you and Mark
originally asserted.

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