September 9th, 2009
The Wall Street Journal published an article about Wayne E. Meyer, who died last week. Meyer was a rear admiral who commanded America’s first naval anti-missile system during the Cold War.
Those who understand the importance of missile defense know that a comprehensive system is the key. Meyer was such a man. Launching missiles from ships was the easy part. Meyer worked to solve the problem of defending against incoming missiles. If you watched old WWII footage of Japanese airplanes-turned-missiles crashing into American ships, you understand the enormity of the problem.
Solving the problem led to the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, designed to intercept ballistic missiles after the boost phase and before reentry. Although Meyer faced “fierce initial opposition” for his idea, the Aegis system became a reality. A long and expensive project, the building of this system provided the U.S. with comprehensive protection against potential Soviet missile attacks.
John F. Lehman, a former secretary of the Navy, said, “We had the forward strategy to get into the Soviets’ face in the Norwegian Sea and around Vladivostok, to demonstrate we could handle the best shots. Aegis was the keystone of that air-defense system and still is.”
September 2nd, 2009
>> The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command has awarded defense contractor Raytheon a $27 million contract to provide field engineers to update Taiwan’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense System.
Sanjay Kapoor, vice president of Patriot programs at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems said his company is “very pleased that the upgrades are happening on an accelerated timeline. This will provide Taiwan with an enhanced level of security sooner than expected.” (Source)
>> Contractor Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., received a task order worth $1.25 million to provide services for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense for the Japanese Flight Test Mission. (Source)
>> Defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems division has created a new missile defense systems unit, to be based in Huntsville, Alabama, and led by Retired Army Major General John W. Holly. (Source)
We blogged last month that Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed were going after a Ground-based Midcourse Defense system contract that could bring in $200 million a year. Among other things, Lockheed’s new missile defense unit will pursue that contract.
August 19th, 2009
U.S. defense contractor Raytheon announced that it’s creating a land-based version of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) for Israel, a system that would help our ally defend against Iran. (Source)
Part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, the SM-3 is a ship-based anti-ballistic missile. Last week an SM-3 successfully hit its target in space.
Discussed at the recent missile defense conference in Huntsville, Alabama, the land-based version of the SM-3 could be in operation by 2013. Raytheon’s Michael Booen told Reuters, “If the program goes through to production and is deployed globally with international allies, the potential value … will be more than $1 billion.”
Reuters reports that the cost of developing the SM-3 for Israel would be “very low.” Additionally, the Pentagon may use SM-3 systems as alternatives to missile shields in Poland and the Czech Republic. In fact, the Pentagon would be wise to develop the systems with these countries in mind. At this point, the fate of shields in the region are in doubt. Missile defense expert Riki Ellison said Russia may be more favorable to SM-3 systems than missile defense shields.
June 24th, 2009
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin upgraded the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System, complete with the Aegis BSP, a new ballistic missile defense signal processor. From the press release:
“The Aegis BMD 4.0.1 system represents the next incremental capability upgrade that has been the hallmark of Aegis and its ‘build a little, test a little, learn a lot’ systems engineering philosophy. The upgrade’s new Aegis BSP processor improves the system’s ability to detect, track and target complex ballistic missiles and their associated countermeasures. The addition of BMD 4.0.1 also integrates the new Standard Missile-3 Block IB missile in late 2010.
“‘The signal processor is a major technical advance for Aegis BMD before it merges with the Navy’s Aegis Modernization Program’s fully open architecture, multi-mission combat system,’ said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Surface/Sea-Based Missile Defense line of business. ‘The continued Aegis program emphasis on systems engineering excellence supports the Navy’s desire to expand BMD capability to additional cruisers and destroyers, and grow missile defense capability to pace the threat.’”
Read the rest here.