Archive for the ‘Hawaii’ Category

Japan, U.S. Navy Express Disappointment, Regret At Failure of Missile Defense Test “At the Last Second”

November 20, 2008

The Navy of Japan and the United States Navy as well as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) expressed disappointment and  after a missile defense test failure over the Pacific Ocean November 20, 2008.

By William Cole
The Honolulu Advertiser

A missile fired by the Japanese destroyer Chokai yesterday failed to intercept a ballistic missile target off Kaua’i in a second test of Japan’s ship-based Aegis ballistic missile defense system.
The $55 million exercise paid for by Japan was intended to knock down a simulated ballistic missile in which the warhead separated from the booster.

But Rear Adm. Brad Hicks, the Aegis system program manager for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said an “anomaly” occurred in the fourth stage of flight by the Standard Missile-3 Block 1A seeker missile.

A kinetic warhead released by the missile found and tracked the simulated ballistic missile, but in the last few seconds it “lost track” of the target, Hicks said.

This is the ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific missile range facility (PMRF) in Hawaii.  Photo: MICHAEL BEJARANO | Sandia National Laboratories

“The missile, until the very end of flight, had excellent performance,” Hicks said.

Hicks said an investigation will determine “if it was just that individual missile, or something that we need to take a look at.”

The Aegis ballistic missile defense system has been successful in 16 of 20 attempts.

Hicks said the same type of missile, fired by the Pearl Harbor cruiser Lake Erie, was used to successfully shoot down a failing U.S. spy satellite in February.

“This system works,” said Hicks, adding the success rate is good compared to other U.S. missiles.

On Dec. 17 off Kaua’i, the Japanese destroyer Kongo shot down a ballistic missile target, marking the first time that an allied naval ship successfully intercepted a target with the sea-based Aegis weapons system.

That target was a nonseparating simulated ballistic missile. Officials said yesterday’s target separated from a booster, making it harder to discriminate.

At 4:21 p.m., the ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The Japanese destroyer Chokai detected and tracked the target using an advanced on-board radar, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

The Pearl Harbor-based destroyer Paul Hamilton also participated in the test.

The Aegis Weapon System developed a fire-control solution, and at 4:24 p.m., a single SM-3 Block IA was launched. The Chokai was about 250 miles off Barking Sands in Kaua’i, and the intercept was to occur about 100 nautical miles above earth in the mid-course phase of the ballistic missile’s trajectory.

Approximately two minutes later, the SM-3 failed to intercept the target. The Chokai crew performance was “excellent” in executing the mission, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

The Japanese ship will stop in Pearl Harbor before returning to Japan with additional SM-3 Block 1A missiles.

Hicks said Aegis ballistic missile defense is a certified and deployed system in the U.S. Navy, and certified and operational in Japan’s navy.

Eighteen U.S. cruisers and destroyers and four Japanese ships are being outfitted with the Aegis ballistic missile defense capability.

On Nov. 1, during the exercise “Pacific Blitz,” the Hawai’i-based destroyers Hamilton and Hopper fired SM-3 missiles at separate targets launched from Kaua’i.

Above: USS Hopper

Hamilton scored a direct hit, while the missile fired by the Hopper missed its target, the Navy said.

Hicks yesterday said the missiles fired from the ships were older rounds going out of service, and the Navy took the opportunity to use them as training rounds “knowing that they carried a higher probability of failure.”

Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails

Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails

November 20, 2008

A Japanese warship failed to shoot down a ballistic missile target in a joint test with U.S. forces Wednesday because of a glitch in the final stage of an interceptor made by Raytheon Co, a U.S. military official said.

The kinetic warhead’s infrared “seeker” lost track in the last few seconds of the $55 million test, about 100 miles above Hawaiian waters, said U.S. Rear Admiral Brad Hicks, program director of the Aegis sea-based leg of an emerging U.S. anti-missile shield.

By Jim Wolf, Reuters

A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ... 
A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship Chokai in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii November 20, 2008.(Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/Handout/Reuters)

“This was a failure,” he said in a teleconference with reporters. It brought the tally of Aegis intercepts to 16 in 20 tries.

The problem “hopefully was related just to a single interceptor,” not to a systemic issue with the Standard Missile-3 Block 1A, the same missile used in February to blow apart a crippled U.S. spy satellite, Hicks said.

Military officials from both countries said in a joint statement there was no immediate explanation for the botched intercept of a medium-range missile mimicking a potential North Korean threat. The test was paid for by Japan, Hicks said.

John Patterson, a spokesman at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, said the company would not comment pending the results of an engineering analysis of what may have gone wrong.
The test involved the Chokai, the second Japanese Kongo-class ship to be outfitted by the United States for missile defense, and a dummy missile fired from a range on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Above: Chokai

North Korea‘s test-firing of a ballistic missile over Japan in August 1998 spurred Tokyo to become the most active U.S. ally in building a layered shield against missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.

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Luck, Superstition and The Presidential Election

November 4, 2008

Barack Obama’s Grandmother has died and we mourn her loss and pray for her peaceful repose.

But this is not lucky.

Barack Obama will win Tuesday’s election and be the next president.

But my Asian American family members all responded the same way to the news of the death of Brack’s Grandmother: this is not lucky.  In fact; this is an ill wind like a curse.

I assured them again that Barack would be the next President of the United States.

“Even worse,” said one.  “Bad luck then covers America.”

I put my lucky ACORNs in my pocket….

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wipes away tears ...
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wipes away tears while speaking about his grandmother during a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. Americans vote in an election of rare historic potential Tuesday with front-running Democrat Barack Obama seeking to become the first black president and Republican John McCain hoping for a poll-defying comeback.(AFP/Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

By Campbell Brown

On the eve of the election, the campaigns are relying on their lucky charms. That was the gist of a story on Monday.

Did you know there are 20 guys in Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s Ohio office who haven’t shaved since Obama pulled ahead of Republican candidate Sen. John McCain in that state?

Or that there is a McCain aide who wears only his pair of socks that have the palm trees on them? McCain fan Sen. Joe Lieberman is sporting his lucky sweater, while an Obama press secretary is putting on her lucky cowboy boots.

So far, it is reported, thank goodness, that no one has outdone James Carville and his decision to wear the same pair of underwear for an extended time when Bill Clinton’s poll numbers started going up. Watch Campbell Brown’s take on lucky charms

The candidates themselves are hardly immune to superstition.

Read it all and see the video:

Acorns in Scotland.jpg

Grandmother’s Death Casts Pall of Death, Ill Wind on Optimistic Election Eve

November 4, 2008

My Asian American family members all responded the same way: this is not lucky.  In fact; this is an ill wind like a curse.

I assured them that Barack Obama will win Tuesday’s election and be the next president.

“Even worse,” said one.  “Bad luck then covers America.”

By Shailagh Murray and Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, November 4, 2008; Page A01

The senator from Illinois spent yesterday campaigning in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, states that have not supported a Democratic presidential nominee in years. He posed for a group photo with his traveling staff, grinning broadly in front of the gleaming white campaign plane emblazoned with the slogan that has carried him through his 632-day candidacy: “Change We Can Believe In.”

“This is our last rally,” Obama told a sea of supporters in Manassas last night. “After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, and 21 months of a campaign, we are less than one day away from bringing about change in America.”

But the final day on the campaign trail was rooted in sadness. Obama learned yesterday morning that his maternal grandmother, the only survivor among the adults who shaped his young life in Hawaii, had died overnight at age 86.

Madelyn Dunham, or “Toot,” as he called her, had been a beloved figure, described by Obama in countless speeches and interviews as a surrogate mother, pioneering female executive and proud World War II wife who worked on a bomber assembly line. [Obituary]

“She was the cornerstone of our family,” Obama and his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said in a statement announcing Dunham’s death. “She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.”

Dunham and her husband, Stanley, had raised Obama in Hawaii during part of his high school years when his mother was living in Indonesia, and the candidate spoke to his grandmother often. Her poor health had not permitted her to campaign for him, but she had corneal transplants this year so she could see him more clearly on television.

Read the rest:

It took nearly two years, many ups and downs, countless smart moves, missed chances and lucky breaks. But finally Barack Obama could say the words: “One more day.”

Ballistic Missile Defense: U.S. Navy Again Demonstrates Proven Success!

November 2, 2008

HONOLULU (AP) – U.S. Navy officials say one of two short-range ballistic missiles shot from a military facility in Hawaii in a defense system test was hit by an interceptor missile fired from a Navy ship.

Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear says Saturday’s trial marked the first time that the Navy _ rather than the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency _ oversaw the firing of a so-called Standard Missile-3 interceptor against a ballistic missile target.

In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile - 3 ... 
Above: An SM-3 launches from a U.S. Navy Ballistic Missile Defense ship.

The San Diego-based U.S. Third Fleet had command and control of the mission, in which two target missiles were fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai island.

An SM-3 fired from the USS Paul Hamilton directly hit the first target missile. Another ship, the USS Hopper, failed to intercept the second target missile that was fired.

USS Paul Hamilton.jpg
Above: USS Paul Hamilton arrives in Pearl Harbor.  Note the lei at the bow….

Shot at satellite unlikely Wednesday: official

February 20, 2008
By Andrew Gray

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military does not anticipate trying to shoot apart a defunct spy satellite on Wednesday due to rough seas in the Pacific Ocean, a senior military official said.
The U.S. Navy may make its first attempt to shoot down an errant spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel overnight on Wednesday in an area of the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii, according to U.S. officials and government documents. REUTERS/Graphics 

The U.S. Navy may make its first attempt to shoot down an errant spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel overnight on Wednesday in an area of the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii, according to U.S. officials and government documents.

The official said that assessment could change but forecasts indicated the Pacific would not be calm enough for the operation. Under the Pentagon‘s plans, a Navy ship will fire a missile at the bus-sized satellite.

See the entire article and graphic:

Navy: Satellite in the Crosshairs

February 20, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 20, 2008

Three U.S. Navy ships have positioned themselves for an unprecedented mission: the execution of a dangerous satellite
about 150 miles above the earth.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates will decide when the U.S. Navy will shoot for the first time at the rogue and out of control satellite about to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere.

The satellite, USA 193, failed soon after launch in 2006.  The satellite contains about 1,000 pounds of dangerous hydrazine fuel.  Hydrazine is toxic to man and animals.

The Navy will use a modified SM-3 missile, a product of the Aegis ballistic missile defense weapons system, to shoot down the malfunctioning satellite.  Aegis BMD has been in development since the early 1990s.

Three ships are prepared for the mission: USS Lake Erie, USS Decatur, and USS Russell.  All have the Aegis BMD system, the SM-3 missile, and significant crew training and experience.

“We all have an agreed-upon series of steps that need to be taken for this launch to be given the go-ahead,” DoD spokesman Morrell said, adding that no final decision has been made on when to make the attempt.

“The [Defense] Secretary is the one who will decide if and when to pull the trigger,” the Mr. Morrell told us. 

The launch could take place as early as 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time tonight.

After Mr. Gates gives the go ahead, this mission rests in the hands of the men and women — the sailors — of the United States Navy.  Engineers and technologists completed their work long ago.  Now sailors will do their professional best — as they always do.

The best report on this mission we saw last night and this morning came from the Army Times and appears below:

By Zachary M. Peterson – Staff writer
Army Times
February 19, 2008  

Sailors aboard the cruiser Lake Erie could attempt the Navy’s first-of-its-kind missile shot to destroy a broken spy satellite as soon as Wednesday evening, officials said Tuesday.

The Navy will use a modified SM-3 missile, leveraging the Aegis ballistic missile defense weapons system to shoot down the malfunctioning satellite, which Defense Department officials fear could potentially shower hazardous debris on Earth.
This photo released by the US Navy in 2003 shows a Standard ... 
This photo released by the US Navy in 2003 shows a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launching from the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie. The US warship is moving into position to try to shoot down a defunct US spy satellite as early as Wednesday before it tumbles into the Earth’s atmosphere, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
(AFP/Us Navy-HO/File) 

The launch could take place as early as 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

The missile does not contain a warhead — it destroys its target using the force of the impact.

The SM-3 is the same missile the Navy uses in its ballistic missile defense tests, but the three missiles modified for the satellite shoot-down have software alterations designed to hit the specific target, a Navy official told reporters Tuesday afternoon in a briefing at the Pentagon.

This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd ...
This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd Class John Whitby operating the radar system control during a ballistic missile defense drill on February 16 aboard the USS Lake Erie. The US warship is moving into position to try to shoot down a defunct US spy satellite as early as Wednesday before it tumbles into the Earth’s atmosphere, Pentagon officials said.
(AFP/US Navy-HO/Michael Hight)

The official requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the missile shot.

The National Geospatial Agency has issued an aircraft advisory warning aviators of hazardous operations in a large area of the North Pacific Ocean near Hawaii from 9:30 p.m. EST Wednesday evening to 12:00 a.m. Thursday setting off speculation that this will be the window the Navy uses to shoot down the satellite.

Ted Molczan, a satellite watcher who has been watching the failed spy satellite closely since its launch in 2006, has calculated it will pass directly over the area specified in the notifications for about three minutes around 10:30 p.m. EST Wednesday.

The cruiser Lake Erie will take the first shot, the official said. The ship is carrying one additional modified SM-3 as well. The destroyer Decatur will provide long-range surveillance and tracking and also has one modified SM-3 aboard, the Navy source said. A third ship, the destroyer Russell, will “likely” remain pierside in Hawaii to provide backup for the Decatur, another Navy source said.

The Military Sealift Command missile range instrumentation ship Observation Island will also collect data and monitor the shoot, officials added.

Ultimately, the Navy is equipped to take three shots at the satellite, but there will be some period of time in between them, according to the Pentagon.

Officials would not specify how long they would wait to try again if the first shot misses, nor would they reveal how often the broken satellite completes an orbit over the Earth.

A typical Aegis BMD test, in which a warship destroys a test ballistic rocket fired from a range in Hawaii, lasts between 20 and 80 seconds.

The Pentagon first became aware of the potentially dangerous re-entry of the satellite early this year, according to press reports. The satellite, known as USA 193, experienced problems upon launch in 2006 and is roughly the size of school bus, DoD officials confirmed.

It took the Navy about six weeks to make the necessary modifications to the missiles and radars to “take it to sea with some degree of confidence,” the Navy official said at Tuesday’s briefing.

The Navy had no prior capability to shoot down satellites and had previously “not explored that,” the source added.

The challenge for the Navy in hitting the satellite is the nature of the target, the official said. The satellite is “bigger and faster than a missile” and the target must be hit in the fuel tank, which remains full, the official said.

The Defense Department will send out a statement within an hour of the missile’s launch, but it could take a day or longer to determine if the fuel tank was hit, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Tuesday.

The satellite does not have its own heat signature, so operators must rely on the sun to warm the target.

The official described the orbiting satellite as a “cold body in space.”

Since January 2002, the Navy has a solid rate of success in its Aegis ballistic missile defense test program, hitting 12 of 14 targets so far.

The tests have increased in complexity, most recently boasting a success hit of a separating target last December.

The cost of the shoot down is unclear, but an Aegis ballistic missile defense tests costs around $40 million, the source said. One SM-3 missile costs about $10 million.

In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) ...

 In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) is launched from Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) to intercept a threat representative target as part of a Missile Defense Agency test of the sea-based capability under development on Nov. 6, 2007. Taking a page from Hollywood science fiction, the Pentagon said Thursday Feb. 14, 2008 it will try to shoot down a dying, bus-size U.S. spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel on a collision course with the Earth using a SM-3 missile. The military hopes to smash the satellite as soon as next week — just before it enters Earth’s atmosphere — with a single missile fired from a Navy cruiser in the northern Pacific Ocean. Software associated with the SM-3 has been modified to enhance the chances of the missile’s sensors recognizing that the satellite is its target.
(AP Photo/US Navy)Related:
Effort to Shoot Down Satellite Could Inform Military Strategy
U.S. Navy Setting Up To Kill Dangerous SatelliteChina: No to U.S. Missile Shot at Satellite
Russia Says U.S. Satellite May Be “Space Weapon” Test

AP Military Writer: Navy Satellite Shot is Controversial
U.S. Navy Missile Destroys Dangerous Satellite

Navy Could Shoot Satellite as Early as Wednesday, Today

February 20, 2008
Larger article moved to:
Navy: Satellite in the Crosshairs
In this Nov 17, 2005 picture provided by the U.S. Navy, a Standard ... 
In this Nov 17, 2005 picture provided by the U.S. Navy, a Standard Missile Three (SM-3) is launched from the vertical launch system aboard the Pearl Harbor-based Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie, during a joint Missile Defense Agency/U.S. Navy test in the Pacific Ocean. The government issued notices to aviators and mariners to remain clear of a section of the Pacific beginning at 10:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008 indicating the first window of opportunity to launch an SM-3 missile from the USS Lake Erie, in an effort to hit a crippled U.S. spy satellite.
(AP Photo/U.S. Navy) 

China Has the NSA For Lunch

December 26, 2007


December 26, 2007:  The U.S. recently revealed that China had done some major damage to the NSA (National Security Agency) via penetration of the NSA facility in Hawaii (which concentrates on monitoring China.) The Chinese effort was two-fold. First, the Chinese set up a Chinese translation service in Hawaii, and managed to make it appear as American owned (and able to pass a security check). Eventually, this translation company got NSA contracts to translate material obtained from China. The operators of the translation of the company were able to pass the NSA material back to China, letting the Chinese know what information the NSA was picking up, which helped the Chinese figure out how the NSA was getting certain information, and with what. This made it easier to prevent the NSA from getting certain information, or setting up a trap, to feed the NSA false information.


But there was more. Many of the NSA employees were Chinese-American. The Chinese set up a recruiting operation, that was so carefully established and run, that it was several years before U.S. counter-intelligence caught on, and shut it down.

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Japan: “Significant” Missile Defense Success

December 18, 2007

HONOLULU (AP) – Japan is now the first U.S. ally to shoot down a mid-range ballistic missile in a test from a ship at sea. Japan’s top government spokesman says this is very significant for Japanese national security. He says the government plans to continue bolstering its missile defense systems by installing necessary equipment and conducting tests. Tokyo has invested heavily in missile defense since North Korea test-fired a long-range missile over northern Japan nearly 10 years ago. It has installed missile tracking technology on several navy ships and has plans to equip three additional vessels with interceptors. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency calls the test “a major milestone” in U.S.-Japanese relations.
In this photo provided by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, ... 
In this photo provided by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) is launched from the Japanese Aegis Destroyer JS Kongo in the warter off Kauai, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. The Japanese military became the first U.S. ally to shoot down a mid-range ballistic missile in space, about 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean, fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, run by the U.S. Navy, with the interceptor fired from the ship at sea in a test Monday.
(AP Photo/Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, HO)