A report conducted by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that annual targets for the delivery of testing for the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Missile Defense Agency (MDA) ability to detect attacks and track, intercept, and destroy threats in flight was unmet in FY2022.
In the GAO report, published on 18 May, it was stated that the MDA had not completed its planned flight, ground, or cyber tests for its systems, which each year were part of goals set in terms of system delivery and testing of existing capabilities. The MDA is charged with the defence of the US, through a layered system of capabilities known as the Missile Defense System.
The GAO found that in 2022, the MDA continued to deliver interceptors and radar upgrades to operational commanders, including those that were expected to be delivered in prior years, but it did not meet its annual goals.
“As a result, the warfighter has less fielded capability than planned. One element—the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system—met its 2022 delivery goals. MDA did not complete its fiscal year 2022 flight, ground, and cyber baseline test programme, consistent with prior years,” the GAPO report stated.
Examples of MDA’s fiscal year 2022 baselined test programme results included the completion of only six of nine planned flight tests and met objectives in only five of those six tests. Flight tests are conducted to test hardware and assess system performance.
Of ground tests in the reporting period, which use simulations to model capabilities and limitations in a wider variety than possible through flight tests, the MDA conducted three of nine planned, deleting or delaying the tests not conducted to future years.
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Finally, regarding cyber testing, which determine capabilities and vulnerabilities, the GAO reported that the MDA two such tests in fiscal year 2022, around one year later than planned—but scaled back the scope of these tests and delayed five others to future years.
Growing market for missile defence
Since MDA was established in 2002, the DoD has spent over $194bn including $10.4bn in fiscal year 2022, according to the GAO, which stated that over this period, missile threats from foreign adversaries had “evolved”.
As of June 2022, there were 23 previously issued recommendations by the GAO that have not been implemented by the MDA.
According to GlobalData’s report on the “US Defense Market 2022-2027”, missiles and missile defence systems are the third largest sector by forecast value, with a cumulative market value of $72.1bn.