ANTI-MISSILE "SUCCESS": NOT EXACTLY

At first glance, it looks like good news for the Star Wars crowd: the Defense Department crowed today that their latest missile defense test was a success.A "step forward in the development (of) ... the 'layered' missile defense system designed to intercept and destroy all types of ballistic missiles," the Pentagon proclaimed, after the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, aboard the USS Lake Erie, hit its target off the shores of Kauai.But Victoria Samson, who tracks all things ballistic for the Center for Defense, is asking us to take a second look."I find it laughable that they're calling this test 'a step forward' when, by their own admissions, they dumbed down the test," she tells Defense Tech.The Aegis system's last test, over the summer, flopped badly. And the reason why, many people think, is that the interceptor's "attitude control system" cracked after being used in "pulse" mode.So, this time around, the Pentagon decided not to "pulse" the interceptor's control system at all -- even though that's how the anti-missile missile is supposed to work in the real world. A lower hurdle to jump, in other words.

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