The Heritage Foundation
Protecting America in the New Missile Age


Russia Reacts to Poland’s Patriot Missile Plan

January 25th, 2010

Patriot missile

In October, sources reported that Poland was in the running to receive missile interceptors under President Barack Obama’s new missile defense plan. Last week, Poland’s defense minister announced that the U.S. plans to deploy Patriot missiles to Poland near the Russian border. In response, Russia intends to beef up its Baltic fleet. (Source)

Poland will install a base with several launch pads and manned by U.S. troops. Responding to Russia’s plans to shore up its Baltic fleet, a high-ranking source in the Polish Foreign Ministry downplayed the threat. “Let’s stay calm. Such strengthening, even if it becomes true, is no direct threat to Poland. The Russians have known about the Patriots for at least two years. So there is no reason to react to unofficial comments.”

Signed in November, the deal between the U.S. and Poland sends about 100 U.S. troops to Poland. Although the deal reflects both countries’ aim to protect the region from missile attacks, the plan is seen as offensive in nature from Russia’s perspective, rather than defensive.

Last year, President Barack Obama dropped Bush-era plans to deploy missile defense shields to Poland and the Czech Republic, the goal of which was to protect the region from Iranian attacks. Russia opposed the shields and threatened to install missiles near Poland’s border. Obama said he reneged on the agreements to focus on systems that would defend against Iran’s shorter-range missiles rather than long-range.

“In pulling the plug on the Bush missile-defense plan in Eastern Europe last month,” the Heritage Foundation‘s Peter Brookes wrote in the New York Post last year, “the White House came up with a new architecture based on a new evaluation of existing intelligence on the Iranian ballistic-missile threat…The Pentagon now insists Iran is moving faster on its short- and medium-range ballistic-missile programs than on its long-range ICBM effort, against which the Czech and Polish sites were aimed. (Of course, many experts think progress in one missile program supports another.)”

Second US- Israel Juniper Cobra Drill

October 21st, 2009

IsraelOn the heels of conducing a joint missile defense exercise – which simulated a response to an attack by the Islamic Republic, Syria, and Hezbollah – Israel and the U.S. will conduct another today. (Source)

As part of a biennial exercise between the two countries, this drill, also called Juniper Cobra, is dubbed the “largest-ever” simulated attack on Israel. Testing air defenses, the drill will assess Arrow, THAAD, Aegis, Patriot, and Hawk defense systems. News source Yediot Aharonot noted that the “working assumption upon which the exercise is based is that the United States, in the event of a war, will provide Israel with missile defence systems that will operate alongside” the Arrow II.

The Arrow II is part of Israel’s Iron Dome, an anti-rocket shield designed to defend Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets and also serves as a major component in a multi-layered missile defense system.

Missile Defense Quick Links for Tuesday

September 8th, 2009

>> The U.S. and Israel will engage in a joint missile defense exercise called Juniper Cobra next month, and the Jerusalem Post reports that the U.S. may leave the systems in place afterward. (Source)

Called the largest joint exercise between the two countries, the event will involve testing three ballistic missile defense systems. The Obama administration has turned its back on deploying missile defense shields to Poland and the Czech Republic, and it’s speculated that countries like Israel and Turkey will be alternative sites.

An Israeli defense minister said, “There is some sense in deploying additional systems [in Israel] since the US already has the X-Band radar in the Negev, storehouses with equipment and close cooperation with the IDF.”

>> Defense contractor Raytheon has developed the AN/SPY-5, a multitracking naval radar system that can search, detect, and track surface and air missiles.

Raytheon’s Charles “Tom” Bush said, “SPY-5 is an affordable, effective and reliable radar system that provides critical capabilities for naval forces around the globe. The radar delivers the capabilities of multiple radar systems to counter a broad range of threats in a single, cost-effective solution.” (Source)

In other Raytheon news, the U.S. Navy awarded the contractor a $151 million contract to make 186 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM) and a $210.3 million option to make 225 more missiles. (Source)

From the release:

“Deployed in the U.S. Navy and nine international fleets, ESSM defends the battlespace by delivering ship self-defense firepower against high-G maneuvering anti-ship cruise missiles as well as surface and low-velocity air threats.”

Finally, Raytheon has awarded a $55.7 million sub-contract to Intracom Defense Electronics, a Greek company, to make subsystems for launchers for Patriot air and missile defense systems. The projected completion date of the project is three and a half years. (Source)

Israel Calls Up Reservists

May 5th, 2009

Israel flagAs North Korea threatens to fire a second rocket, and Iran launches satellites into space, Israel is preparing to defend itself from missile attacks. (Source)

UPI reports that Israel’s air force reservists who operate Arrow and Patriot missile defense systems are gearing up. An unidentified Israeli official said, “We are working hard to be ready for the Iranian threat…We are preparing for barrages, split warheads and other surprises and therefore we need to retain a high operational level by everyone, including reservists.”

Despite assurances from North Korea and Iran about their “peaceful” and “scientific” launches, only the willfully obtuse would believe these claims and remain complacent. Israel and other countries that want to survive and keep citizens safe understand what’s at stake.

Raytheon’s Contract Awards

April 21st, 2009

U.S. defense contractor Raytheon was awarded a $27 million option for engineering services for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System, bringing the total value of the contract to $159.2 million. (Source)

Raytheon received an extension to perform risk-reduction services on the Global Positioning System Operational Ground Control Segment. Bob Canty, vice president and program manager of the segment, said “We are working with our customer to continue to reduce program risk to ensure that we have the lowest-risk program going forward. What’s critically important on this program is to be able to deliver our team’s commitments fully and on-time.” (Source)

Raytheon was awarded a $12.5 million from the U.S. Army to deliver to Enhanced Position Location Reporting System Extended Frequency (EPLRS-XF) radio technologies. This system is designed to enable soldiers to communicate during “congested combat situations.”

Network Centric Systems Integrated Communications Systems vice president Jerry Powlen wrote, “The EPLRS-XF radio gives the war fighter high-speed, on-the-move video and data exchange capabilities for a broad range of applications. We continue to evolve EPLRS and our networked communications capabilities to deliver the most advanced solutions to our troops.” (Source)

Congressman Michael Turner on Missile Defense

March 4th, 2009

Rep. Michael Turner

 Representative Michael Turner, a Republican Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, spoke about the subcommittee’s upcoming hearing on missile defense testing. An excerpt:

“As we begin our discussion on missile defense testing, we should start by establishing a baseline of where we are today. The missile defense capability our nation has fielded today consists of—26 ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, 18 Aegis missile defense ships, 13 Patriot battalions, 5 radar tracking systems, and command and control systems.

“As I have learned from intelligence analysts at NASIC, in my home district, the threat doesn’t wait for us to perfect our defenses. If, for example, North Korea were to launch a long-range Taepo-Dong missile tomorrow, we could use this system to protect the American people, our forces abroad, and allies. As Secretary Gates recently suggested, the Pentagon was prepared to use its missile defense capabilities to bring down a North Korean missile if necessary.

“Having this missile defense capability today as an option is the direct result of U.S. leadership, and the hard work and dedication of a strong government and industry team.

“Both the Chairman and I agree that our missile defense assets must be effective and credible. I was particularly interested in Mr. Mitchell’s written statement that, “our nation’s ballistic missile defense capability cannot be disregarded today and will provide an even more effective defense in the future.” Therefore, continued testing to increase the effectiveness, credibility, and flexibility of an already deployed system against evolving threats is a commitment we all make.

“A common misconception about missile defense is that the technology doesn’t work and tests are not realistic. A good starting point for us here today is to better understand the progress made to-date. What is the state of our missile defense capabilities? As I understand it, the Missile Defense Agency is reviewing their test plans and there is good alignment between them and the test community in this process. I am interested in hearing more about what our test objectives are, how assessments are made, where gaps and shortfalls exist, and how the rebaselined test program should address these.”