The missile defense testing record

Two months ago, I linked to a chronology of missile defense tests at the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance web site. Unfortunately, that link went stale, so I decided to assemble a chronology of my own by correlating dates from the MDAA with press releases at the Missile Defense Agency. Since the first missile defense system was ordered deployed in December 2002, there have been 23 tests reported by the MDA:

For those keeping score, that’s 23 successes and 2 failures. Both failures were for the Aegis/SM-3; one in 2006 when an interceptor failed to fire, the other back in 2003 when an interceptor missed its target.

GMBD (pdf) (ground-based midcourse defense) is the best-known, long-range system, designed to destroy missiles at a distance. THAAD (pdf) (terminal high-altitude area defense) is a portable ground-based system. Aegis/SM-2 and SM-3 (pdf) are sea-based systems (using two different missiles). NCADE (pdf) (net-centric air defense element) is an air-based system, designed to destroy missiles during their boost phase. PAC-3 (pdf) (Patriot advanced capability) is an evolution of the Patriot system, designed for short-range interceptions.

ASIDE: The MDAA says there have been four more PAC-3 tests (all successful) than the MDA has reported. (The MDA stopped issuing press releases related to the PAC-3 system after its successful test in September 2005.) If we count those, the record goes to 27-2.

UPDATE (11/29): I update the record through November 2008 here.

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