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US Ballistic Missile Defence

Discussion in 'Military Forum' started by Indus Falcon, May 2, 2015.

  1. Transhumanist

    Transhumanist FULL MEMBER

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    Tactical and Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense - PAC-3:



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    Older HAWK missiles have tactical and short range ABM capabilities too:

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  2. Transhumanist

    Transhumanist FULL MEMBER

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  3. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Major flaws revealed in US anti-missile nuclear defense

    By David Willman
    Tribune Washington Bureau (Tribune News Service)
    Published: May 31, 2015

    WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Two serious technical flaws have been identified in the ground-launched anti-missile interceptors that the United States would rely on to defend against a nuclear attack by North Korea.

    Pentagon officials were informed of the problems as recently as last summer but decided to postpone corrective action. They told federal auditors that acting immediately to fix the defects would interfere with the production of new interceptors and slow a planned expansion of the nation’s homeland missile defense system, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

    As a result, all 33 interceptors deployed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, Calif., and Fort Greely, Alaska, have one of the defects. Ten of those interceptors — plus eight being prepared for delivery this year — have both.

    Summing up the effect on missile-defense readiness, the GAO report said that “the fielded interceptors are susceptible to experiencing … failure modes,” resulting in “an interceptor fleet that may not work as intended.”

    The flaws could disrupt sensitive on-board systems that are supposed to steer the interceptors into enemy missiles in space.

    The GAO report, an annual assessment of missile defense programs prepared for congressional committees, describes the problems in terse, technical terms. Defense specialists interviewed by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau provided more detail.

    The interceptors form the heart of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, GMD for short. Four of the massive, three-stage rockets are stationed at Vandenberg and 29 at Fort Greely.

    They would rise out of underground silos in response to an attack. Atop each interceptor is a 5-foot-long “kill vehicle,” designed to separate from its boost rocket in space, fly independently at a speed of 4 miles per second and crash into an enemy warhead — a feat that has been likened to hitting one bullet with another.

    The GMD system was deployed in 2004 as part of the nation’s response to Sept. 11, 2001, and a heightened fear of attack by terrorist groups or rogue states. It has cost taxpayers more than $40 billion so far and has been plagued by technical deficiencies.

    One of the newly disclosed shortcomings centers on wiring harnesses embedded within the kill vehicles’ dense labyrinth of electronics.

    A supplier used an unsuitable soldering material to assemble harnesses in at least 10 interceptors deployed in 2009 and 2010 and still part of the fleet.

    The same material was used in the eight interceptors that will be placed in silos this year, according to GAO analyst Cristina Chaplain, lead author of the report.

    The soldering material is vulnerable to corrosion in the interceptors’ underground silos, some of which have had damp conditions and mold. Corrosion “could have far-reaching effects” because the “defective wiring harnesses” supply power and data to the kill vehicle’s on-board guidance system, said the GAO report, which is dated May 6.

    When Boeing Co., prime contractor for the GMD system, informed government officials of the problem last summer, they did not insist upon repair or replacement of the defective harnesses, according to the report.

    Instead, Missile Defense Agency officials “assessed the likelihood for the component’s degradation in the operational environment as low and decided to accept the component as is,” the report said.

    The decision minimized delays in producing new interceptors, “but increased the risk for future reliability failures,” the report said.

    Chaplain told the Times that based on her staff’s discussions with the Missile Defense Agency, officials there have “no timeline” for repairing the wiring harnesses.

    The agency encountered a similar problem with wiring harnesses years earlier, and the supplier was instructed not to use the deficient soldering material. But “the corrective actions were not passed along to other suppliers,” according to the GAO report.

    L. David Montague, co-chairman of a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed operations of the Missile Defense Agency, said officials should promptly set a schedule for fixing the harnesses.

    “The older they are with that kind of a flawed soldering, the more likely they are to fail,” Montague, a former president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp., said in an interview.

    The second newly disclosed defect involves a component called a divert thruster, a small motor intended to help maneuver the kill vehicles in flight. Each kill vehicle has four of them.

    The GAO report refers to “performance issues” with the thrusters. It offers few details, and GAO auditors declined to elaborate, citing a fear of revealing classified information. They did say that the problem is different from an earlier concern that the thruster’s heavy vibrations could throw off the kill vehicle’s guidance system.

    The report and interviews with defense specialists make clear that problems with the divert thruster have bedeviled the interceptor fleet for years. To address deficiencies in the original version, Pentagon contractors created a redesigned “alternate divert thruster.”

    The government planned to install the new version in many of the currently deployed interceptors over the next few years and to retrofit newly manufactured interceptors, according to the GAO report and interviews with its authors.

    That plan was scrapped after the alternate thruster, in November 2013, failed a crucial ground test to determine whether it could withstand the stresses of flight, the report said. To stay on track for expanding the fleet, senior Pentagon officials decided to keep building interceptors with the original, deficient thruster.

    The GAO report faulted the Missile Defense Agency, an arm of the Pentagon, for “omitting steps in the design process” of the alternate thruster in the rush to deploy more interceptors. The skipped steps would have involved a lengthier, more rigorous vetting of the new design, defense specialists said. The report said the omission contributed to the 2013 test failure.

    All 33 interceptors now deployed have the original, defective thruster. The eight interceptors to be added to the fleet this year will contain the same component, GAO officials told the Times.


    The missile agency currently “does not plan to fix” those thrusters, despite their “known performance issues,” said the GAO report.

    Contractors are continuing to work on the alternate thruster, hoping to correct whatever caused the ground-test failure. The first test flight using the alternate thruster is scheduled for late this year.

    The GAO had recommended that the Pentagon postpone integrating the eight new interceptors into the fleet until after that test. Defense Department officials rebuffed the recommendation, the report said.

    In a response included in the report, Assistant Secretary of Defense Katharina G. McFarland wrote that delaying deployment of the new interceptors “would unacceptably increase the risk” that the Pentagon would fall short of its goal of expanding the GMD system from 33 interceptors to 44 by the end of 2017.

    Asked for comment on the report, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, Richard Lehner, said in a statement that officials “have in place a comprehensive, disciplined program to improve and enhance” the GMD system “regarding the issues noted by the GAO.”

    “We will continue to work closely with our industry partners to ensure quality standards are not only met, but exceeded,” the statement said.

    Boeing declined to comment.

    The GMD system is designed to repel a “limited” missile attack by a non-superpower adversary, such as North Korea. The nation’s defense against a massive nuclear assault by Russia or China still relies on “mutually assured destruction,” the Cold War notion that neither country would strike first for fear of a devastating counterattack.

    GMD’s roots go back to the Clinton administration, when concern began to mount over the international spread of missile technology and nuclear development programs. In 2002, President George W. Bush ordered “an initial set of missile defense capabilities” to be put in place within two years to protect the U.S.

    To accelerate deployment, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld exempted the missile agency from the Pentagon’s standard procurement rules and testing standards.

    Engineers trace the system’s difficulties to the breakneck pace at which components were produced and fielded. In precisely scripted flight tests above the Pacific, interceptors have failed to hit mock-enemy warheads about half the time.

    As a result, the missile agency projects that four or five interceptors would have to be fired at any single enemy warhead, according to current and former government officials. Under this scenario, a volley of 10 enemy missiles could exhaust the entire U.S. inventory of interceptors.

    The Obama administration, after resisting calls for a larger system, pledged two years ago to increase the number of interceptors to 44. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have pushed for further expansion. The House this month passed a bill authorizing $30 million to plan and design a site for interceptors on the East Coast. The White House called the move “premature.”

    Major flaws revealed in US anti-missile nuclear defense - Stripes
     
  4. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Navy orders more Raytheon SM-6 air defense missiles
    More than 70 additional SM-6 missiles are being produced for the U.S. Navy under a contract modification worth $149 million.
    By Richard Tomkins | June 3, 2015

    TUCSON, June 3 (UPI) -- Raytheon is producing additional Standard Missile-6 all up rounds for the U.S. Navy under a $149 million contract modification.

    The modification is for 74 of the air defense missiles, together with spares, containers and company services.

    "The SM-6 has advanced capabilities and speed," said Mike Campisi, Raytheon's SM-6 senior program director. "Combatant commanders want their deployed ships armed with as many of these interceptors as possible, and we're ramping up production to meet that need."

    SM-6 is a surface-to-air supersonic missile that uses both active and semi-active guidance modes and advanced fuzing techniques to destroy incoming aircraft and missiles. It was first deployed by the Navy in 2013, and Raytheon has so far delivered more than 160 of them.

    Raytheon said the new order, when combined with the nearly $110 million long-lead material purchase made in March 2015, brings the total value of full-rate production of SM-6 missiles for fiscal year 2015-16 to $259 million.

    "Future contract modifications include options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to nearly $563 million," it said.

    Raytheon producing more SM-6 missiles for Navy - UPI.com

    Raytheon: Standard Missile-6 (SM-6)
     
  5. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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  6. AMDR

    AMDR FULL MEMBER

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    This is good, especially for Terminal BMD.

    Both the SM-3 and SM-6 can do BMD, the SM-3 being the more capable of the two. But you wouldn't want to expend those 10 million dollar monsters for something that's coming straight at you, you want to use it to protect a high value target like a city in midcourse. (Think Korean ballistic missiles). Instead, you could use a 4 million dollar SM-6 to destroy ballistic missiles coming for your carrier in the terminal stage. That isn't to say you wouldn't use a SM-3 to destroy a DF-21D, but only if your are out of other less expensive BMD-capable weapons.

    This isn't World War II where we can produce thousands of these things a month. We need to be careful with weapon expenditures if we ever get into a major engagement. You have a limited number a missiles in your VLS cells, you need to make everyone count.

    The ESSM block II is coming online in 2020 closely follow by railguns near 2025. These two weapons could also be useful in protecting a carrier from ballistic missile attack as well as ASCMs. Flexibility is life.
     
  7. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    UPDATE 1-U.S., Japan say first test of Raytheon's new SM-3 missile a success
    Sun Jun 7, 2015
    By Andrea Shalal

    (Reuters) - The United States and Japan announced on Sunday the first live-fire test of Raytheon Co's new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile that is being jointly developed by the two countries for several billion dollars.

    Rick Lehner, spokesman for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said the test conducted on Saturday from the Point Mugu Sea Range off the coast of California was a success.

    Lehner said the United States spent just over $2 billion on the weapons program, while Japan contributed about $1 billion.

    The SM-3 IIA is a 21-inch variant of an earlier SM-3 missile, which works with the U.S. Aegis combat system built by Lockheed Martin Corp to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats in space.

    Riki Ellison, who heads the non-profit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, said: "It is the U.S. Department of Defense's best case of equal funding and engineering shared with an allied country to develop and ... field a new weapon system to better enhance the national security of both nations."

    Raytheon said the new SM-3 IIA missile had bigger rocket motors and a more capable kill vehicle that would allow the missile to engage threats sooner and protect larger regions from short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats.

    Saturday's test evaluated the performance of the missile's nosecone, steering control, and the separation of its booster, and second and third stages. No intercept was planned, and no target missile was launched, said U.S. and company officials.

    "The success of this test keeps the program on track for a 2018 deployment at sea and ashore," said Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon's missile systems business.

    Ellison said three more years of testing were planned for the new missile before it was put to use on U.S. Navy Aegis ships, Japan's Kongo ships, and at land-based Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania.

    (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by David Evans and Peter Cooney)


    UPDATE 1-U.S., Japan say first test of Raytheon's new SM-3 missile a success| Reuters
     
  8. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    US and Japan conduct first flight of SM-3 Block IIA missile
    8 June 2015
    SM-3 Block IIA.jpg
    Image: The SM-3 test missile lifted-off from a MK 41 launcher at the US Navy's Point Mugu Sea Range. Photo: courtesy of US Missile Defense Agency.


    The Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), Japan Ministry of Defense (MOD) and US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have successfully completed the first flight of a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA.

    The test missile was launched from a MK 41 launcher located at the US Navy's Point Mugu Sea Range, San Nicolas Island, California.

    Under the SM-3 co-operative development project, the US and Japan have developed a 21in diameter SM-3 missile to combat with medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

    The test assessed the missile's nose cone performance, steering control section function, booster separation, and second and third stage rocket motor separation.

    "The test assessed the missile's nose cone performance, steering control section function, booster separation, and second and third stage rocket motor separation."
    Raytheon Missile Systems president Dr Taylor Lawrence said: "The SM-3 Block IIA programme reflects the MDA's commitment to maturing this capability for the defence of our nation, deployed forces and our allies abroad.

    "The success of this test keeps the programme on track for a 2018 deployment at sea and ashore."

    US MDA spokesman Rick Lehner was quoted by Reuters saying the countries invested $1bn each for the project.

    Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance founder Riki Ellison said testing will be carried out for three more years and the missile will be later used on US Navy Aegis ships, Japan's Kongo ships and Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania.

    Planned to be deployed in 2018, the SM-3 is designed to combat incoming ballistic missile threats in space, with an impact equivalent to a 10t truck travelling at 600mph.

    The SM-3 Block IB is scheduled for land-based deployment in Romania in 2015.

    US and Japan conduct first flight of SM-3 Block IIA missile - Naval Technology
     
  9. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System Completes Successful Series of Intercept Flight Test Events
    15-NEWS-0007
    August 3, 2015

    The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy Sailors aboard the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conducted a series of four flight test events exercising the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) element of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The flight test, designated Multi-Mission Warfare (MMW) Events 1 through 4, demonstrated successful intercepts of short-range ballistic missile and cruise missile targets by the USS John Paul Jones, configured with Aegis Baseline 9.C1 (BMD 5.0 Capability Upgrade) and using Standard Missile (SM)-6 Dual I and SM-2 Block IV missiles. All flight test events were conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Kauai, Hawaii.

    MDA Director Vice Adm. James D. Syring said, "This important test campaign not only demonstrated an additional terminal defense layer of the BMDS, it also proved the robustness of the multi-use SM-6 missile on-board a Navy destroyer, further reinforcing the dynamic capability of the Aegis Baseline 9 weapon system."

    Event 1
    On July 28, at approximately 10:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (July 29, 4:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time), a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) target was launched from PMRF in a northwesterly trajectory. The USS John Paul Jones, positioned west of Hawaii, detected, tracked, and launched a SM-6 Dual I missile, resulting in a successful target intercept.

    Event 2
    On July 29, at approximately 8:15 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (July 30, 2:15 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time), a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) target was launched from PMRF in a northwesterly trajectory. The USS John Paul Jones detected, tracked, and launched a SM-2 Block IV missile, resulting in a successful target intercept.

    Event 3
    On July 31, at approximately 2:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, (8:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) an AQM-37C cruise missile target was air-launched to replicate an air-warfare threat. The USS John Paul Jones detected, tracked, and successfully engaged the target using an SM-6 Dual I missile.

    Event 4
    On August 1, at approximately 3:45 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, (9:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time), a BQM-74E cruise missile target was launched from PMRF. The USS John Paul Jones detected, tracked, and successfully engaged the target using an SM-6 Dual I missile. The SM-6's proximity-fuze warhead was programmed not to detonate after reaching the lethal distance from the target, thus providing the ability to recover and reuse the BQM-74E target.

    Facts

    • MMW Event 1 was the first live fire event of the SM-6 Dual I missile.
    • MMW Events 1 and 2 were the 30th and 31st successful ballistic missile defense intercepts in 37 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002.
    • The MDA will use test results to improve and enhance the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).
    • Aegis BMD is the naval component of the BMDS. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.
    • Operational elements of the BMDS are currently deployed, protecting the nation, our allies, and friends against ballistic missile attack.
    • The BMDS continues to undergo development and testing to provide a robust layered defense against ballistic missiles of all ranges in all phases of flight.
    MDA - MDA News Releases
     
  10. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Same story as above. Different link:

    U.S. military tests ballistic missile interceptor off Hawaii
    By Audrey McAvoy,
    The Associated Press
    7 p.m. EDT
    August 3, 2015

    HONOLULU — The U.S. military said Monday it successfully tested an interceptor that can shoot down ballistic missiles as well as airplanes.

    The destroyer USS John Paul Jones tested the technology during a series of flight tests off the Hawaiian island of Kauai over the past week, the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement.

    The tests used a modified version of the SM-6 missile the Navy already uses, said Heather Uberuaga, a spokeswoman for military contractor Raytheon Missile Systems.

    The existing version can shoot down airplanes, helicopters and cruise missiles. The newer model tested off Hawaii may also destroy ballistic missiles in their last few seconds of flight.

    Raytheon says the updated missile is on course to be operational next year, offering the Navy the flexibility to meet a wide variety of missions.

    It would join the Navy's arsenal of missile-destroying interceptors. The Navy already has an interceptor, called SM-3, that ships can use to shoot down ballistic missiles midway through their flight.

    The Navy could use the SM-6 to shoot down missiles that weren't intercepted earlier.

    The Navy has another interceptor, called SM-2 Block IV, that can also shoot down missiles in the last phase of flight. But it differs from the SM-6 in that its primary purpose is to defend airspace immediately surrounding ships while the SM-6 is designed to provide air defenses over the horizon.

    During the first test event in the series, John Paul Jones sailors on July 28 fired a modified SM-6 to destroy a ballistic missile. On July 31 and Aug. 1, the sailors tested the new interceptor against two different types of cruise missiles.


    U.S. military tests ballistic missile interceptor off Hawaii
     
  11. AMDR

    AMDR FULL MEMBER

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    US DoD Approves $9 Million To Raytheon, Lockheed To Develop Multi-Object Kill Vehicle Prototype
    US DoD Approves $9 Million To Raytheon, Lockheed To Develop Multi-Object Kill Vehicle Prototype

    The US department of Defense has approved $9 million each to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon to define a proof-of-concept prototype of a Multi-Object Kill Vehicle.

    Under this new contract, the contractor will define a concept that can destroy several objects within a threat complex by considering advanced sensor, divert and attitude control and communication concepts, the US DOD announced Tuesday.

    The contractor will define a proof-of-concept prototype and demonstrate risk mitigation steps and critical functional aspects of the concept.

    The contractor will also assess the technical maturity of their concept, prioritize and nominate risk reduction tasks for all critical components and describe how the tasks will reduce risk.

    The estimated completion date for both the contracts is May 2016.

    This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website through an Advanced Technology Innovation broad agency announcement with three proposals received.

    Fiscal 2015 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $4 million are being obligated on this award.
     
  12. Mrc

    Mrc ELITE MEMBER

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    9 million is a very trivial amount.. i am persuming this money is for a buissness case only...
     
  13. AMDR

    AMDR FULL MEMBER

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    Missile defense evolves with nanosatellites, emerging tech
    Missile defense evolves with nanosatellites, emerging tech

    As the Army looks toward 2025 in an era of evolving warfare – including the proliferation of ballistic missiles – leaders are focusing on what cutting-edge technologies will put them ahead of the curve in missile defense.

    The Defense Department is exploring a daunting range of technologies to boost next-generation missile defense, including work under way on nanosatellites that provide off-the-grid communications, future lasers that are as compact as they are capable of taking out incoming threats, non-kinetic options and more.

    "The organizations that I represent have a wide variety of mission sets and support a number of ongoing operations while exploring new and emerging technological advances," said LTG David Mann, commander of Army Space and Missile Defense Command. "Space and missile threats posed by our adversaries have expanded and become more numerous and complex, not only in the area of ballistic and cruise missile systems, but also in the development of emerging technologies like hypersonic or hyper-glide weapon systems, anti-satellite technologies, cyber threats and the proliferation of unmanned aerial systems."

    Mann spoke Aug. 12 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.

    The commander said that three nanosatellite programs are complete and more launches are scheduled for this fall for data communications satellites. He said the satellites provide "responsive beyond-line-of-sight communications support in very austere environments, which is critically important because we don't know where we will be deployed, we don't know what the infrastructure will be like."

    "These satellites will demonstrate a low-cost solution for providing communications down to the squad-level," Mann said. "Nanosats are tremendously beneficial for units operating in remote locations while on the move. Additionally, they allow tactical leaders to better synchronize actions and seize the initiative while maintaining situational awareness."

    Mann also said the Army has entered a cooperative research and development agreement with Lockheed Martin for a laser weapon to be tested out on drones and mortar rounds at White Sands Missile Range next summer.

    The ground-based lasers that the Army wants are different from the afloat lasers the Navy has, the airborne lasers the Air Force seeks and the high-powered lasers wanted by the Missile Defense Agency to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles, Mann acknowledged.

    "There is some concern out there that maybe the services are being redundant, [but] it reflects the importance of that technology," Mann said. "The services are using this technology to look at different threat sets."

    And while he largely deferred on questions about cyber and other non-kinetic capabilities, he did say the Army is making progress on those options as part of a comprehensive, layered missile defense.

    "Just trust me when I say that there are some very exciting and promising technologies out there…some of them are very, very classified, very, very compartmentalized programs, so I can't go into a lot of specific areas. Trust me when I say, though, that all the services are looking at non-kinetic solutions to these threat sets," Mann told reporters after his remarks to the conference audience. "The big takeaway is it's a wide spectrum of capabilities that we have to address this threat set. You can look at non-kinetic, but it's not a be-all end-all. You can look at directed energy, but it's not a be-all end-all."
     
  14. AMDR

    AMDR FULL MEMBER

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    Joint Staff Studies New Options For Missile Defense

    CAPITOL HILL: Minds are changing inside the Pentagon when it comes to the best ways to stop missile attacks, the Army’s top missile defender said this morning. It’s not just that the Joint Staff is conducting a major study of the subject, due out next month, said Lt Gen. David Mann. It’s that a “holistic” array of new options is on the table, from lasers to cyber attack tojamming to preemptive strikes.

    Particularly tricky are actions taken “left of launch,” before the enemy missiles leave the launchpad. The best defense may be a good offense, but that raises the unsettling possibility that the US might strike first. Now, Mann told an Air Force Association breakfast, the reluctance to discuss such options is going away.

    “When you talk about left of launch and taking actions in a proactive manner, that comes fraught with a lot of policy issues,” Mann said. “[But now] we’re seeing a lot more openness to really discuss that especially at the department level, to really look across the whole spectrum of options.”

    “I see a lot more interest and willingness to discuss left of launch than I’ve ever seen before,” Mann went on. “When you hear the Joint Staff and others talking about holistic, non-kinetic, left of launch [options], you know you’re gaining some ground.”

    That said, no less a figure than the outgoing Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, has urged caution. “While we would obviously prefer to take a threat missile out while it’s still on the ground, what we would call left-of-launch, we won’t always have the luxury of doing so,”Winnefeld warned at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in May. “We don’t want there to be any doubt about our commitment to having a solid right-of-launch capability.”

    “Of course, it’d be great to do, to the extent we can,” CSIS’s Tom Karako told me. “[But] SCUD hunts are hard, requiring lots of intelligence and speed: just ask the Saudis and other coalition partners, 50 of whom died last week from a Yemeni missile strike that they missed hitting on the ground. And…it can look like preemption, so policy could impede fully employing such capabilities.”

    “All we’re doing is we’re adding more arrows to the quiver and more capabilities for the warfighter,” Mann told me after his public remarks. Left of launch is just meant to be one option among others — but we really need more options.

    With our current missile defenses, which rely on shooting down the incoming weapon — usually pretty close to the target — “we’re always kind of on the receiving end,” Mann told me. “We have SM-3s, we have THAAD, we have Patriot, and basically we’re waiting for it to hit us.”

    “What we’re trying to do is say, ‘hey, warfighter, we have ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] capabilities, we have indications and warning, we have other non-kinetic capabilities out there that you can leverage,'” Mann went on. “At the end of the day, whoever’s in charge of the campaign is the one that’s going to see what gets employed.”

    Mann was characteristically cagey about just what those unspecified “non-kinetic capabilities” might be. He did make clear that real-world capabilities exist today in bothelectronic warfare — e.g. jamming enemy sensors and communications– and cyber warfare— hacking enemy networks and electronics. But he couldn’t tell the open forum much more without losing his job or going to jail.

    Communicating about these capabilities is difficult even within the military, Mann told the group. “The challenge that we have, quite frankly, with some of these programs is they’re extremely compartmentalized and they have a very high classification level,” he said. “How do we ensure that the COCOMs [combatant commanders] are aware of these capabilities?… .We’re working our way through.”

    Again, CSIS’s Karako added a note of caution. “There’s a lot of momentum and interest surrounding directed energy [e.g. lasers], cyber, and the larger spectrum of electronic warfare for missile threats,” Karako told me. “This is all good stuff when we can make it work, but it sounds like we’re not there just yet.”

    “So it’s not unreasonable to ask whether investments in these bright shiny objects could detract from other medium-term investments, as well as incremental but less exotic improvements to existing systems,” Karako continued. “As just about anyone will say when pressed, for the immediate future we’re likely still going to need lots of chemically-powered hit-to-kill systems with long legs” — i.e. interceptors.

    It’s just that interceptors alone are no longer enough, if they ever were. “Gone are the days where we could simply provide enough interceptors to address all the threat vehicles that are out there,” Mann said. “We’re faced with relatively inexpensive ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, and as good as our interceptors are, we’ll never have enough.”

    “At least 22 countries” now have ballistic missile capabilities, Mann said. Nine are working on cruise missiles. The Chinese have conducted more than half a dozen tests of hypersonic weapons that could race through our defenses faster than we could react.

    Last year, Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno and Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenertwrote a memo to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, saying the demand from theater commanders for missile defense units was outstripping their services’ supply. (All three men have since retired or left). There has to be another way, the two four-star officers said. That message was heard loud and clear at the highest levels, Mann said, and it led to the “Joint Capabilities Mix Sufficiency Study” expected to conclude next month.
     
  15. Indus Falcon

    Indus Falcon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Ballistic Missile Defense System Demonstrates Layered Defense While Conducting Multiple Engagements in Operational Test
    15-NEWS-0008
    November 1, 2015
    The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, U.S. European Command, and U.S. Pacific Command conducted a complex operational flight test of the BMDS demonstrating a layered defense architecture.

    The test, designated Flight Test Operational-02 Event 2a, was conducted in the vicinity of Wake Island and surrounding areas of the western Pacific Ocean. The test stressed the ability of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon systems to negate two ballistic missile threats while Aegis BMD simultaneously conducted an anti-air warfare operation.

    This was a highly complex operational test of the BMDS which required all elements to work together in an integrated layered defense design to detect, track, discriminate, engage, and negate the ballistic missile threats.

    BMDS assets included: a THAAD battery consisting of a THAAD Fire Control and Communications (TFCC) unit, THAAD launcher, and an Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control Model 2 (AN/TPY-2) radar in terminal mode; a second AN/TPY-2 radar in forward-based mode; Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC); and the USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG-53) Aegis BMD-configured ship with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar.

    At approximately 11:05 pm EDT (October 31), a Short Range Air Launch Target (SRALT) was launched by a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft southeast of Wake Island. The THAAD AN/TPY-2 radar in terminal mode detected the target and relayed track information to the TFCC to develop a fire control solution and provide track information for use by other defending BMDS assets. The THAAD weapon system developed a fire control solution, launched a THAAD interceptor missile, and successfully intercepted the SRALT target.

    While THAAD was engaging the SRALT, an extended Medium Range Ballistic Missile (eMRBM) was air-launched by another Air Force C-17. The eMRBM target was detected and tracked by multiple BMDS assets including the AN/TPY-2 in forward-based mode, and the USS JOHN PAUL JONES with its AN/SPY-1 radar. Shortly after eMRBM launch, a BQM-74E air-breathing target was also launched and tracked by the USS JOHN PAUL JONES.

    As a demonstration of layered defense capabilities, both Aegis BMD and THAAD launched interceptors to engage the eMRBM. The USS JOHN PAUL JONES successfully launched a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB Threat Upgrade guided missile, but an anomaly early in its flight prevented a midcourse intercept. However, the THAAD interceptor, in its terminal defense role, acquired and successfully intercepted the target. Concurrently, Aegis BMD successfully engaged the BQM-74E air-breathing target with a Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA guided missile. A failure review is currently underway to investigate the SM-3 anomaly.

    Several other missile defense assets observed the launches and gathered data for future analysis. Participants included the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) Experimental Lab (X-Lab), C2BMC Enterprise Sensors Laboratory (ESL), and the Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrators (STSS-D).

    The MDA will use test results to improve and enhance the BMDS.
    MDA - MDA News Releases