Marc:
You didn't. As I said, this is from my understanding of the technology
involved,
which has come from other sources than the two articles we both cited.

It's not hard to destroy a balloon with a shock wave. Even a bit of
shrapnel
would puncture it.

Dan:
Your understanding of the technology involved then is flawed. These tests
were of a "hit-to-kill" vehicle. A shock-wave was never designed, planned,
or expected in the test results. Destroying a decoy is a failure,
destroying the booster interface is a failure, only striking the target is
considered a success.

Marc:
It's not the visual aspects that are the issue, but the aerodynamical ones,
and
balloons behave differently than cones.

Dan:
In the environment that these intercepts are taking place aerodynamics are
not an issue. The intercept is taking place _before_ the MIRV goes
atmospheric. That's why the aerodynamic differences between the target and
decoys are irrelevant.

Marc:
I didn't get that in either article -- I saw all the references to decoys
and
assumed that the MIRV had already released its payload. You don't have to
wait to
get to exoatmospheric levels to establish a good trajectory. The first few
minutes are the critical ones, and it's at that point that you need this
3rd
party information asap.

Dan:
Yes, I finally figured out that we were talking about two different things
too. And you're right that you don't need to get to the coast phase to
establish a good trajectory, but you can use that time to get your defenses
in place.
A missile attack involves three basic phases: boost, coast, and drop.
Ideally you destroy a missile during the boost phase, before anything is
deployed. The problem is that you might have destroyed a legitimate
payload. The next phase is better because you now know exactly where that
payload is headed, and where it will come down. It's also better because
you can still catch it while all of the warheads are still in the same
basket. The drop phase is the most difficult because not only do you have
multiple warheads, but you also have to find these multiple, _small_ items
against an increasingly "noisy" background.
Just knowing the point of origin, and the type of booster provides an awful
lot of intel without needing to know specifics about the payload. The
trajectory will provide other types of knowledge.

Marc:
I realized that -- it works on infrared. But it still has to distinguish
between
a valid target and decoys.

Dan:
But you don't need a cone-shaped decoy to fool an IR sensor, it doesn't
even need to _look_ like the target; it just has to have the same IR
signature - the actual physical shape is irrelevant to that task. That was
the point of my contention with that part of the article.
And the seeker head being tested is consistently showing that it can
distinguish between multiple objects and the target.

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

Marc:
No, it didn't work. I didn't see that as bias at all.

Dan:
Straight from the article followed by my interpretations.

"THIS time, nobody could accuse the Pentagon of building up unrealistic
expectations." - The insinuation is that the Pentagon has built up
"unrealistic" expectations before.

"But politically, of course, it was a pleasure to hit the target,..." - So
it was politically expedient that the test succeed - technical success was
secondary.

"In any case, the promotion of a "culture of failure" has a purpose which
goes far beyond this month's experiment." - I'm still trying to understand
what (s)he's trying to say here, but it sounds like (s)he's trying to
suggest that someone is attempting to justify repeated failures as success.
What's your take on that sentence?

"And if the Pentagon is sincere in saying that its main concern..." -
Suggests that statements by the Pentagon is somehow untrustworthy.

>From top to bottom the author has challenged the Pentagons' statements,
suggesting that there is an ulterior motive behind them to hide continued
failure.

"Simultaneously, a decoy balloon was fired in a similar direction." - This
sentence was injected in the middle of the paragraph describing the test.
It is a complete fabrication on the part of the author, whether intentional
or not, and suggests a radically different situation than what actually
occurred.

"Should American taxpayers be concerned, then, that not enough risks are
being taken or envelopes pushed? In one sense, yes." - The taxpayer isn't
their monies worth apparently.
"The target was cone-shaped...and they would be identical in shape to the
real target." - As I've stated, this is not a requirement for a successful
decoy to function; particularly for an IR sensor. I think that (s)he might
be confused as to where the intercept is actually taking place in these
tests; as you were. This also speaks to the 'doctored test' you had implied
earlier.

Also, using the quotes from Mr. Coyle, they suggest that the test schedule
published by the Pentagon is unrealistic.
The more I read this, the more it appears to be an editorial piece with one
intent; to suggest to the reader that it is _impossible_ to build a
realistic anti-missile system that can hit a "real" warhead, and especially
not in the time allotted.

It is biased Marc, whether you can see it or not.

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