Unarmed Missile Launched From California To Test Sea-Based Radar

Wednesday, March 21st 2007, 9:59 pm
By: News On 6

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) _ The military launched an unarmed missile to test the tracking ability of a new radar platform in the Pacific.

The Minuteman 2 intercontinental ballistic missile lifted off from a silo on the central coast base Tuesday night. Its trajectory was tracked by sensors on the platform designed to distinguish dangerous warheads from decoy missiles.

Tuesday's test did not involve an interception. The Missile Defense Agency plans two intercept tests this year _ one in the spring and another in the fall _ to further test the performance of the mobile radar platform, which looks like a huge oil rig.

``This was another safe and successful launch for the 30th Space Wing, the Air Force and the Department of Defense,'' said Col. Teresa Djuric.

The 280-foot tall Sea-Based X-band Radar is so powerful it can identify baseball-size objects thousands of miles away. It was built by Raytheon Co. for the Boeing Co., the prime contractor on the project.

The $815 million radar is mounted on a platform that can sail to anywhere the military needs to track missiles.