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Missile Defense Quick Links for Tuesday

September 28th, 2010

– James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, will brief senators tomorrow on START. Among other things, Republicans believe the president compromised our national defense in a misguided attempt to “reset” relations with the former Soviet Union. (Source)

– The U.S. and Israel reached an agreement to continue developing Israel’s short-range David Sling missile defense system, designed to defend against short-range and theater ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets, and cruise missiles. (Source)

– NATO recently approved defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) system. MEADS International President Steve Barnoske said, “Joint Project Optic Wind was an early opportunity to prove out the interoperability of the MEADS battle management architecture and its ability to serve as the integrating element for an air and missile defense task force. Open, modular software gives MEADS great flexibility to accommodate additional requirements.” (Source)

MDA Awards Lockheed Engineers for Satellite Shoot Down

April 8th, 2010

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded a team of engineers for defense contractor Lockheed Martin the Ronald W. Reagan Missile Defense Award for helping to shoot down an errant satellite in 2008. (Source)

Had the efforts not been successful, the satellite would have made an uncontrolled and unpredictable reentry.

President of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Sensors business unit Orlando Carvalho said, “The success of this effort was a direct result of the enduring partnership between our engineers and our customers. The tremendous adaptability of the Aegis Weapon System, especially our SPY-1D radar, allowed us to perform flawlessly in the execution of this new mission.”

The MDA’s Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly said, “The success of this mission speaks to this team’s flexibility, ingenuity and drive to achieve the seemingly impossible. When the nation needed an extraordinary capability, they stepped up and delivered it.”

MEADS Update

March 17th, 2010


Last week, we blogged about the conflict between the Pentagon and the Army regarding the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). The Pentagon wants to continue developing the system with Germany and Italy, and the Army wants to ditch the project, citing the system’s cost. MEADS is a mobile system designed to intercept short-range cruise missiles and shoot down planes and drones. The system uses Lockheed Martin’s Patriot PAC-3 missile and the long-range IRIS-T air-to-air missile.

The $19 billion MEADS project began over 10 years ago, and it’s intended to replace the Army’s aging Patriot system. In addition to the system’s cost, says the Army, it’s taking too long to build it, and it will be hard to manage. The Army will decide whether to transfer development of MEADS to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

The Defense Department was also concerned about souring relations with Germany and Italy if MEADS is canceled. The Heritage Foundation‘s Baker Spring said the system is one that the U.S., Germany, and Italy can use when each has the need. “It’s almost inconceivable to me that the U.S. military would be in an expeditionary operation where it won’t be working with coalition partners in some form or another,” he told the Washington Post.

Defense News reports that Army officials and MDA representatives met last week, but the two did not reach a decision on MEADS. Officials agreed that before they can decide whether to transfer the system from the Army to the MDA, follow-up questions and more analysis were necessary.

A design review of MEADS is scheduled for August 2010.

Battle Over the Medium Extended Air Defense System

March 9th, 2010

MEADS

The Pentagon wants the U.S. to continue developing the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), in conjunction with Germany and Italy, but the Army wants to ditch the project, citing the system’s cost. (Source)

MEADS is a mobile system designed to intercept short-range cruise missiles and shoot down planes and drones.

The $19 billion MEADS project, which began over 10 years ago, is intended to replace the Army’s aging Patriot system. In addition to the system’s cost, says the Army, it’s taking too long to build it, and it will be hard to manage. The Pentagon wants to continue building the system and has requested $467 million. At this point, it would cost more money to cancel the project than to continue. The Defense Department would owe contractors, a group that includes Lockheed Martin, at least half a million in penalties.

The Defense Department is also concerned about souring relations with Germany and Italy if MEADS is canceled. The Washington Post quotes the Heritage Foundation‘s Baker Spring. He said the system is one that the U.S., Germany, and Italy can use when each has the need.

“It’s almost inconceivable to me that the U.S. military would be in an expeditionary operation where it won’t be working with coalition partners in some form or another,” Spring told the Post.

The Army will decide whether to transfer development of MEADS to the Missile Defense Agency. Understandably, Lockheed Martin wants to continue developing the system. “At a time of growing threats, MEADS represents the United States’ first all-new air and missile defense system of its kind in decades and is the only such program in which allies are sharing the cost to develop a capability that each country needs.”

The Army and the Pentagon are in a conundrum. MEADS would provide protection in the field, and canceling it would cost more than keeping it. More than that, dropping the system likely would displease Germany and Italy.

(Image source: Army Technology)

U.S. Airborne Laser Test Successful

February 15th, 2010

ABL

Although the U.S. Department of Defense and its industry partners work constantly to advance and improve defense technology, it is a rare occurrence when one such program can be described as a breakthrough.

Mark your calendars, because just such an occurrence took place on February 11, 2009, off the coast of California. That day the Missile Defense Agency announced that a modified Boeing 747 aircraft carrying a high energy laser had tested the laser against a boosting ballistic missile and successfully intercepted and destroy the target missile. (MDA)

It is understandable that the America people may have believed that using a laser to shoot down a launching ballistic missile is the stuff of science fiction. Clearly that used to be case, but today it is just science and no longer fiction. The Missile Defense Agency attached pictures and videos of the test to its on-line announcement and must be seen to be believed. The Missile Defense Agency and its contractor team, which included Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, deserve the heartfelt congratulations of the American people for this achievement.

It also important for the American people to recognize what this means for ballistic missile defense. It demonstrated a system that is capable of destroying a ballistic missile in the boost phase, before it releases decoys and other countermeasures that are able to confuse or overwhelm missile defense systems that intercept their targets later in flight, at the speed of light. Clearly, this breakthrough will lead to further refinements of directed energy weapons technology, including for purposes other than ballistic missile defense. It should be recognized, however, that it was the ballistic missile defense program that brought about this extraordinary technological breakthrough. Accordingly, it would be foolish for the Obama Administration to curtail this program and others developing this class of technologies.

Missile Defense Contract Awards

December 3rd, 2009

 
U.S. defense contractor SAIC won a $19 million contract to “provide measurement, prediction, and analysis support for evaluating the signatures of foreign missile systems and their support equipment” at Huntsville, Alabama. SAIC has worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center for the past 20 years. The center provides intelligence on foreign missile defense systems. (Source)

The U.S. Army awarded defense contractor Raytheon a $17.2 million contract modification to assist with upgrades to South Korea’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. Specifically, Raytheon will provide the country with an alternative power source for the Patriot system and communications equipment. (Source)

Vice president for Patriot Programs at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Sanjay Kapoor said, “This is an opportunity to further our working relationship with the South Korean industry. Raytheon’s major subcontract partner in South Korea, EHWA Technologies Information, has a robust and proven portfolio of products in power systems for the Republic of Korea Air Force and will be a key partner for these improvements.”

Contractor Lockheed Martin seeks to win a 10-year, $6 billion contact to take over Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD). Since the program began, Boeing has been the main contractor for GMD.

Retired Army Major General John Holly, a Lockheed vice president for missile defense, said his company “welcomes the opportunity to apply our talent and experience to a broader set of requirements for this important missile defense system.” (Source)

U.S. Vies for Turkish Arms Sale

December 1st, 2009

 
Patriot missileIn September, sources reported that the U.S. was interested in selling $7.8 billion worth of Patriot fire units, missiles, and other weapons to Turkey. The arms would help Turkey, which borders Iran, defend itself against missile threats. Today’s Global Post reports that Russia and China also seek to sell missile defense systems to Turkey.

Defense contractors Raytheon and Lockheed Martin will bid for the contract. If successful, the sale would be the “largest single Turkish purchase of military equipment to date.” However, Turkey’s military said it won’t pay over $1 billion for a missile defense system.

In light of the IAEA’s censure against Iran and Iran’s threat to build 10 more nuclear sites, the arms sale couldn’t be more timely. “It’s clearly not in Turkey’s interest to see a nuclear Iran; they don’t want to see a nuclear-armed competitor on their border,” said Ian Lesser, a senior transatlantic f’llow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “But they do fear that this can happen. And modernizing Turkey’s air defense system looks pretty important from that perspective.”

According to the source, Turkey denies its defense system sale is related to Iran. Why? Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, “We neither have a perception of threat from any of the neighboring countries, nor have any military- or security-related preparation against them.”

Whatever you say, Mr. Davutoglu. After all, Iran has claimed its nuclear ambitions are “peaceful” and “scientific.”

Lockheed Awarded $1 Billion Contract, Raytheon $100 Million

October 27th, 2009

 
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1 billion contract to continue developing the Aegis ballistic missile defense system and create more Aegis-compatible warships. (Source)

Orlando Carvalho vice president and general manager of the company’s surface-sea based missile defense unit said: “This further supports the increasing demand for Aegis BMD capability worldwide, especially in light of the administration’s recent shift in policy in European Missile Defense.”

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. awarded defense contractor Raytheon two contracts worth over $100 million to design and develop the David’s Sling Weapon System, a joint program between the Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization. (Source)

The system is designed to defend against short-range ballistic missiles, high-caliber rockets, and cruise missiles in the terminal phase. Mike Booen of Raytheon said, “Large-caliber rockets and short-range ballistic missile threats are inexpensive, plentiful, easily concealed and largely exempt from international arms control accords. Stunner [interceptor] offers a near-term and affordable solution to this asymmetric threat.”

Defense Contract Awards and New Missile Defense Unit

September 2nd, 2009

 
Lockheed>> 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.

Missile Defense Quick Links for Wednesday

August 12th, 2009


Dmitry Medvedev>> Defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing are vying for a missile defense deal that could bring in $200 million a year.

Reuters reports that all three contractors want the chance to operate and sustain the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD). John Holly, a Lockheed senior executive, said his company has “the right skills and the capability.”

Boeing’s GMD director of operations and sustainment said his company “is the lowest risk option for the work because of this experience and success on the program.”

>> Russia is gearing up for a new kind of space race with the U.S. A commander in the Russian air force said his country will develop a defense system that will counter the “threat” of our space-based missile defense capabilities. We may have the ability to hit any Russian target from space by 2030, and Russia’s response is to build a competing rocket.

A Russian general said, “The development of air and space offensive weapons by foreign states demonstrates that by 2030 radical changes will take place in the exploration of air and space as an integral sphere of armed struggle.”

With George Bush out of office, any plans to produce a weapon with such capacities are in doubt. The U.S. and Russia are in talks to renegotiate START, and if previous compromises are any indication, Russia may not have to worry about the development of a space-based target-hitting weapon. (Source)

>> A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) successfully hit its target in space. Part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, the SM-3 destroyed a short-range ballistic missile. (Source)