June 10th, 2010
The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance reports that Patriot missile defense system ($133.6 million for upgrades) and Israeli Cooperative Programs ($230 million) received additional funding in the FY 2001 missile defense bill. Total missile defense spending in FY 2011 is $10.3 billion.
The Senate Armed Services Committee added “sense of Congress” statements that include support for the U.S. and NATO to cooperate with Russia to contain Iran; that the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system “provides adequate defensive capability” against Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missiles; and that the new START doesn’t constrain U.S. missile development or deployment.
Politico notes that Congress could increase scrutiny of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The defense bill would require MDA to lay down a projected baseline for program costs, although MDA spokesman Richard Lehner said the agency has reported baselines to Congress since 2005. The implication is that the MDA lacks oversight.
June 8th, 2010
On June 6, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully launched a two-stage Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI), part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system, from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The GBI carried an exoatmospheric kill vehicle and measured the two-stage design and the vehicle’s performance. An excerpt:
“Several missile defense assets and emerging technologies observed the launch and gathered data for future analysis. Participants included the Space Tracking and Surveillance System, AN/TPY-2 X-band Radar, and the Upgraded Early Warning Radar at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. Initial indications are that all components performed as designed. Program officials will evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.”
The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance’s Riki Ellison said the two-stage missile was supposed to be placed in Poland before President Barack Obama dropped those plans. Ellison said the two-stage GBI can serve as hedge if Iran strikes sooner and other missiles aren’t ready. (Source)
“Additional defensive intercept shots are needed to mitigate high risk of vulnerability to the eastern United States and northern Europe from Iran as early as 2015 or sooner. The three-stage GBIs deployed in Alaska and California cannot protect northern Europe and can only provide a one-shot opportunity for the eastern United States. The remaining areas of the country are protected by two or more shot opportunities. Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant General Patrick J. O’Reilly stated at a missile defense conference in London last month that no greater than a 90 percent success can be achieved with a one-shot opportunity and that two-shot opportunities are needed to provide high confidence.”
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 14th, 2009
According to a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the administration’s shift from emphasizing strategic ballistic missile interception systems to battlefield missile defense would save money but hamper our ability to protect against missile attacks. (Source)
The Obama administration proposes to cut $1.4 billion from the missile defense budget. The report’s author notes the administration’s proposal to reduce ground-based interceptors from 44 to 30 with no plans to replace or replenish the program. The budget for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system would be reduced by 35 percent, and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense program would see cuts for the next fiscal year.
The Airborne Laser (ABL) program, which had its first successful in-flight test this week, would see a $214 million decrease if the budget is passed. Perhaps the success of the ABL will prompt the president to commission another ABL aircraft.
The administration proposes to cancel the Multiple Kill Vehicle and Kinetic Energy Interceptor programs.
See the Center’s 50-page report (PDF) for analyses of how these budget cuts affect our national defense.
April 22nd, 2009
DOD Buzz reports that Senator Jon Kyl is hinting he may oppose the confirmation of Representative Ellen Tauscher, nominated by President Barack Obama for Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
Kyl, who’s written a number of pro-missile defense op-eds, spoke yesterday at a morning meeting and quoted some of Tauscher’s statements on missile defense. According to DOD Buzz, a skeptical Tauscher wants more testing on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD). She also expressed skepticism about a missile defense shield in Poland, saying the system would have to be proven viable before deployment (as one would expect).
An aide confirmed that Kyl would place a hold on Tauscher’s nomination.
Tauscher’s skepticism about systems like the GMD match the Obama administration’s. The Missile Defense Agency may face budget cuts as high as $2 billion, which would reduce testing of the GMD.