Information on Cancelled Integrated Flight Test-16 for Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Element

GAO-03-767R: Published: May 8, 2003. Publicly Released: May 8, 2003.

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This report provides information on Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element flight test known as Integrated Flight Test (IFT)-16. This test was planned for the third quarter of fiscal year 2004 but was recently cancelled by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the agency within the Department of Defense (DOD) responsible for developing the ballistic missile defense system and its elements. Specifically, GAO was asked to determine the original purpose of IFT-16, how the test differed from IFT-14 and -15, and what new information IFT-16 would have provided had it been conducted.

We found that the primary objectie of IFT-16 was similar to that of past flight tests. The test was planned to assess the ability of GMD components to work together as an integrated element, capable of engaging and destroying a mock warhead. However IFT-16 engagement conditions and components differ from those in earlier tests.

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