Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oh, terrific

The current Cabinet and its supporters have exhibited a great deal of enthusiasm for ballistic missile defense.

Funny thing is not really clear that anyone is minding the store:

Rain KO'd Interceptors During Korea Missile Tests (Updated)

Torrential rains wiped out a quarter of the U.S.' intercontinental ballistic missile interceptor silos in Ft. Greely, Alaska last summer -- right when North Korea was preparing to carry out an advanced missile launch, according to documents obtained by the Project On Government Oversight.

"The flooding occurred during a three-week period between the end of June and early July 2006," POGO notes, in a statement. "The flooding damaged 25% of the U.S. interceptor missiles’ launch capability. These silos house the interceptor missiles that would be used to attempt to intercept a missile aimed at the United States. No interceptors were in the flooded silos."

An internal assessment by Boeing, the silos' chief contractor, shows seven flooded interceptor silos, out of the 26 at Ft. Greely. Two silos have more than 62 feet of water; a third has more than 50. Estimated times of repair range from four to 14 months. Boxcar like structures called Silo Interface Vaults (SIVs), adjacent to the interceptor silos, were also flooded, "two of them by as much as 15 feet of water," POGO says. "Three SIVs must have all electronic and mechanical systems replaced. Four other SIVs have partial damage. One SIV was so damaged that it shifted vertically in the ground like a house shifting off its foundation." It's a strange turn of events, considering "an environmental impact study of the facilities at Ft. Greely notes there is 'little rainfall in the region.'"
Two silos are filled with water 20 meters deep. Now that's a pumping job.

Concrete-lined holes in the ground with a cap on them--kind of hard to screw up--or so one would think.

This news makes the secret deployment of the troubled X-band radar ship last June to track the North Korean missile tests somewhat hilarious (almost as hilarious as the details of the operation being revealed by a congratulatory PR announcement posted on an international seaman's union website). At best it seems, test observers were going to know in which direction they should be waving as the unseen missiles flew by.

And to think the press gives poor Dr. Nakamats grief for his unorthodox missile defense plans.

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