Thursday, 17 June 2021

An intriguing apparent Missile Defense (?) test from Kodiak and Kwajalein

 

click map to enlarge

A Navigational Warning issued on June 16 seems to point to a possible Missile Defense test on June 21, with missile launches from Kodiak Island in Alaska (the Pacific Space Port Complex) and the Kwajalein Test Range in the Marshall islands.

Below is the text of the Navigational Warning in question, NAVAREA XII 271/21, defining four areas A to D. I have mapped the areas in the map in top of this post, with one of several possible interpretations (in this interpretation, an interceptor is launched from Kwajalein to intercept an ICBM launched from Kodiak. The flight distance involved for the interceptor in this scenario does not sit well with me though).

160922Z JUN 21
NAVAREA XII 271/21(16,19,81).
GULF OF ALASKA. 
NORTH PACIFIC.
ALASKA. 
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, ROCKET LAUNCHING 
   210830Z TO 211430Z JUN, ALTERNATE 
   0830Z TO 1430Z DAILY 22 THRU 25 JUN 
   IN AREAS BOUND BY:
   A. 57-29N 152-20W, 57-20N 152-11W, 
      56-39N 153-28W, 56-41N 153-33W,
      57-11N 152-47W, 57-16N 152-43W,
      57-19N 152-38W, 57-21N 152-38W,
   B. 51-08N 160-22W, 50-58N 159-50W,
      51-01N 159-26W, 51-17N 158-58W,
      51-42N 158-35W, 52-29N 158-16W,
      52-32N 158-24W, 51-51N 159-35W,
      51-23N 160-14W.
   C. 33-50N 171-41W, 33-44N 171-27W,
      36-52N 169-25W, 38-40N 168-15W,
      39-58N 167-47W, 40-02N 167-59W,
      39-15N 168-39W, 38-27N 169-18W,
      37-05N 170-02W.
   D. 12-45N 172-48E, 08-11N 166-38E, 
      08-56N 166-01E, 13-34N 172-11E.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 251530Z JUN 21.

There is an additional Navigational Warning, NAVAREA XII 270/21, defining several areas west of Hawaii for several dates around the possible test, in the general area where the launch trajectories from Kodiak and Kwajalein seem to meet. One of the dates issued (nr 2, highlighted in red) has a time window that, while not similar, does overlap with the time window of warning NAVAREA XII 271/21:

150910Z JUN 21
NAVAREA XII 270/21(19).
NORTH PACIFIC. 
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS 192100Z TO 201000Z JUN 
   IN AREA BOUND BY 
   22-42.0N 172-13.0W, 22-28.2N 171-01.3W, 
   21-08.4N 171-20.8W, 21-22.0N 172-35.0W.
2. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS 202100Z TO 211000Z JUN 
   IN AREAS BOUND BY:
   A. 30-37.0N 169-02.0W, 30-13.0N 167-20.0W, 
      29-07.0N 167-41.0W, 29-24.0N 169-04.0W.
   B. 24-05.0N 171-50.0W, 23-50.7N 170-36.7W, 
      22-28.2N 171-01.3W, 22-42.1N 172-13.0W.
   C. 23-06.0N 178-55.0W, 23-06.0N 175-15.0W, 
      21-40.0N 175-15.0W, 21-40.0N 178-55.0W.
   D. 22-00.0N 167-58.0W, 22-00.0N 166-36.0W, 
      20-19.0N 166-36.0W, 20-19.0N 167-58.0W.
3. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS 212100Z TO 221000Z JUN 
   IN AREAS BOUND BY: 
   A. 29-10.0N 169-54.0W, 28-25.0N 167-54.0W, 
      27-28.0N 168-11.0W, 28-06.0N 170-23.0W.
   B. 23-50.7N 170-36.7W, 23-37.0N 169-28.0W, 
      22-14.8N 169-48.4W, 22-28.2N 171-01.3W.
   C. 23-06.0N 178-55.0W, 23-06.0N 175-15.0W, 
      21-40.0N 175-15.0W, 21-40.0N 178-55.0W.
   D. 22-00.0N 167-58.0W, 22-00.0N 166-36.0W, 
      20-19.0N 166-36.0W, 20-19.0N 167-58.0W.
4. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS 222100Z TO 231000Z JUN 
   IN AREAS BOUND BY: 
   A. 28-06.0N 170-12.0W, 27-28.0N 168-11.0W, 
      26-30.0N 168-27.0W, 27-00.0N 170-30.0W.
   B. 22-28.2N 171-01.3W, 22-14.8N 169-48.4W, 
      20-55.0N 170-08.0W, 21-08.4N 171-20.8W.
   C. 20-19.0N 170-20.0W, 20-29.0N 168-01.0W, 
      18-01.0N 168-01.0W, 18-01.0N 170-20.0W.
5. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS 232100Z TO 241000Z JUN 
   IN AREA BOUND BY 
   20-19.0N 170-20.0W, 20-29.0N 168-01.0W, 
   18-01.0N 168-01.0W, 18-01.0N 170-20.0W.
6. CANCEL THIS MSG 241100Z JUN 21.


It is not clear whether these Navigational Warnings really are related to the Navigational Warnings from NAVAREA XII 271/21. They might be, or might not be. If they are, this might be one of several possible interpretations, pointing to a multiple target intercept where both a missile fired from Kodiak and a missile fired from Kwajalein are to be intercepted:

click map to enlarge

When I presented the evidence for a possible 21 June Missile Defense test on twitter, there were some suggestions that this might be the planned test FTT-21

However, what is known of that planned FTT-21 test suggests the target(s) for that test should be SRBM, i.e. a missile with a range of no more than 1000 km. Which is at odds with what seems to be indicated by the Navigational Warnings, with the missile fired from Kodiak  apparently flying at least 6000 km (assuming areas A to C, blue in the map, define the trajectory of one and the same missile) and the Kwajalein missile at least 1800 km if it is to intercept the Kodiak missile or if it is to be intercepted from area B of the second Navigational Warning (the red area A in the map above). That would be ICBM and IRBM targets, not SRBM targets.

In other words: it is not clear what is going on here, which makes this an interesting issue.


2 comments:

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The Yellow Porcupine said...

They call these "tests" but I'm pretty sure the interceptor folks know the planned path of the target well in advance.