Space and astronomy news and information for the American Southwest. Coverage includes Vandenberg AFB rocket and missile launches.

7th Space Warning Squadron Guides Interceptor

By 1st Lt. Michael Trett and 1st Lt. Matt Innes, 7th Space Warning Squadron

Reprinted from Air Force Space Command News Service, Peterson AFB, CO

2007 October 12

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif -- The 7th Space Warning Squadron's Upgraded Early Warning Radar recently guided an interceptor to track and destroy a test missile 230 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

The missile was launched from the Kodiak launch complex in Alaska and flew over the Pacific while the UEWR tracked its every move by sending information to the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Fire Control and Communications element in Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 28.

"The missile warning and defense capability demonstrated by the 7th SWS and mission partners was a huge success displaying our ability to defend America," said Lt. Col. Joey Hinson, 21st Operations Group deputy commander.

Approximately 17 minutes after the missile was launched, military operators launched an interceptor toward the missile from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., which received live updates on the missile flight path from UEWR and other sensors. As the two objects flew closer, the interceptor released the final weapon, an exoatmospheric kill vehicle, which locked in on the target until it was destroyed.

"Now instead of just warning about incoming missiles, 7th SWS has the capability to cue interceptors to take out missiles before they reach the United States," said Lt. Col. Keith Skinner, 7th SWS commander.

7th SWS has a primary mission of missile warning, a corollary mission of missile defense, and secondary mission of space surveillance in support of space superiority. 7th SWS is a geographically separated unit of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo.

The "Eyes to the West" team consists of U.S. Air Force, Canadian Air Force, government civilians, and BAE Systems contractors responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the radar.

UEWR was the primary sensor in a large complex mission involving about 1,000 government and contractor personnel and more than 50 assets worldwide.

This story was originally titled "7th Space Warning Squadron Successfully Guides Interceptor".

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