Jeffrey LewisMDA R2s: Initial Reactions

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has released its Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) Budget Estimate Overview, complete with descriptive summaries (R2s for those in the know).

The R2s provide some answers to our questions:

Why did classified MDA spending jump by nearly $200 M, from $159.9 M to $349.5 M?

STSS Block 2010 money probably went “black”.

Last year, MDA intended to request $253.8 M for the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) Block 2010. This year, MDA requests nothing, noting (as it did last year) that “Activity for this funding is described elsewhere due to classification.”

It seems pretty clear to me that MDA simply moved all or most of the $250 M from STSS Block 2010 to the classified “Special Programs” account—or replaced the STSS Block 2010 with some other classified sensor program similar to the SpaceDev microsatellite constellation.

Why would MDA classifed the third Block 2010 STSS satellite? Astute ACW readers may remember that MDA not only classified basic budget and schedule information for the third STSS satellite, but also the reasons for classifying this information. That led Space News and this observer to speculate that MDA was “using classification to limit congressional oversight and public disclosure on a program with a well-documented history of runaway cost growth and lengthy delays.”

Will NFIRE Carry a Kill Vehicle? What’s the deal with Space Based Interceptors?

NFIRE will not carry a kill vehicle and the space-based test bed is on hold—for now. The Budget Estimate… notes:

The MDA held a Near Field Infrared Experiment continuation review in summer 2004 that accepted the recommendation of an Independent Review Team to remove the kill vehicle payload. The Independent Review Team determined that the removal of the kill vehicle payload would significantly reduce the program cost and schedule risk while still meeting the primary experiment objectives.

As for the Space Based Interceptors Test Bed, the Budget Estimate… requests no money for 2006 or 2007. Still, MDA plans to come back strong in FY 2008-2011. Here is the funding profile (in US$ millions):

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
0.0 0.0 45.0 150.0 248.0 230.0

What’s the Deal with the KE ASAT?

The budget confirms what ACW mentioned on 11 March 2005—that MDA “provided” (ahem, laundered) Congressionally mandated funding to the Army for the Army Counterspace Technology Testbed.

How Much Dough for Multiple Kill Vehicles (MKV)?

Previously funded in the BMD Technology (PE 603175C) within project 0502 in Engagement Systems, MKV is now funded in of BMD Midcourse Defense (PE 0603882C) within project 0515 Multiple Kill Vehicles. Total funding is $82.0 M in 2006 and $1.3 B though FY 2011.