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FAIRBANKS (AP) — The government will no longer post a public calendar of upcoming missile tests under a new Missile Defense Agency policy.
The agency cited the need to "safeguard critical defense information" as the reason for making the testing schedule classified, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday. The website Inside Defense first reported the policy change last month.
The testing schedule will only be made be available to Congress.
Agency Director Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said that pilots and boat captains will also receive a safety heads up about a week before any launches. He said test results will be made available after launches.
The central part of Alaska is home to most of the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-Based Midcourse Defense interceptors, one of several missile defense tools in the agency's arsenal. Fort Greely has 40 interceptors. An additional four are located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Although it's the main interceptor site, Fort Greely is not used for missile defense testing.
Testing of the interceptor system has taken place in Alaska at Kodiak Island's Pacific Spaceport Complex. The Missile Defense Agency has used the Kodiak launch facility to launch mock warheads to be shot down by interceptors at Vandenberg or from Kwajalein Atol in the southern Pacific Ocean. So far, 10 of 17 interceptor tests of the Ground-based Midcourse system have been successful.
Greaves said the missile agency will continue to report the success or failure of tests after they are completed.
"There has been no change to information that is released after a test occurs," Greaves said.
Kodiak has also been used to test another missile defense product, a truck-based missile known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com