Archive for the ‘interceptor’ 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.
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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.”

Related:
Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails

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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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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081120/wl_nm/us_japan_usa_mis
sile;_ylt=AtR6dVwzdhOKirAsXFcgsFSs0NUE

Missile Defense at 25

March 23, 2008

By James Hackett
The Washington Times
March 23, 2008

It is fitting that the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative is on Easter Sunday, a day synonymous with peace. As a result of Reagan’s vision, and President Bush’s determination in withdrawing from the ABM treaty and fielding defenses, this Easter the world is a safer place.
Ronald Reagan
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Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the danger of nuclear-armed missiles is still with us. Russia under permanent ruler Vladimir Putin still has 2,945 deployed nuclear warheads and is fielding new SS-27 Topol-M intercontinental missiles (ICBMs). And Moscow is developing a new version known as the RS-24, which has been tested with three warheads but is expected to carry as many as six.
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Mr. Putin threatens to target missiles on Poland and the Czech Republic if they host U.S. missile defenses, and on Ukraine if it joins NATO.
Vladimir Putin
And in Asia, China is engaged in a massive military buildup, with new ballistic and cruise missiles designed to strike U.S. aircraft carriers, new DF-31A ICBMs aimed at the United States, and more than 1,000 short-range missiles opposite Taiwan.
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Other countries are developing longer-range missiles while seeking nuclear weapons, notably North Korea’s oddball regime, which seems willing to sell nuclear technology as well as missiles to anyone, and the mullahs in Iran. Then there is Pakistan, which already has an arsenal of nuclear warheads and missiles to carry them. Pakistan is an ally today, but al Qaeda wants to seize power and control the “Muslim bomb.”
 

Google Earth captured an image of the new Chinese ballistic-missile submarine, docked at the Xiaopingdao base south of Dalian. U.S. officials say the new submarines may increase Beijing´s strategic arsenal.
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The main value of missile defense is to deter opponents from using nuclear missiles to intimidate and achieve their goals through fear. Defenses also provide security in the event of an actual missile launch by design or accident. And as the recent shoot-down of a falling satellite showed, missile interceptors can be used for other useful purposes, including deflecting asteroids on a collision course with Earth.
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The missile defense program has come a long way since Reagan’s speech 25 years ago today when he said deterrence works, weakness invites aggression, and we maintain peace through strength. He urged use of our technological strength to find a way to deter attack. It may take decades, he warned, “but I believe we can do it.”
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He was right about American technology. The idea of striking a very fast missile with a fast interceptor was considered a joke by many at the time. But that technology, unmatched by any other country, is now the key element of our missile defenses. After several test failures, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has done a remarkable job of improving the program to conduct successful flight tests.
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Since 2005, there have been 26 intercepts in 27 tests, an amazing record for a new weapon system. Today there are 24 interceptors in silos in Alaska and California protecting the United States, and 25 on ships in the Pacific, with more on the way. It is important to keep this successful program on track and not make changes that might jeopardize progress toward deployment of a global layered defense.
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As Vice President Richard Cheney said at a recent Heritage Foundation dinner, the talk about which presidential candidate would be best to take a call at 3 a.m. reminds us that no president should ever be told that a missile is coming toward the United States and there is no way to stop it.
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Missile defense can stop it.
 

The plan is to base 40 interceptors in Alaska, four in California and 10 in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic and a mobile radar closer to Iran. But as the threat grows, more interceptors will be needed, at least 20 in Europe and up to 100 in Alaska, given the growing threat from China.
 

There is some discussion of breaking up the missile defense program to separate sustaining current deployments from future development. It is natural for MDA to want to turn operational activities over to the services and concentrate on research and development. But that could lead to future budget cuts as research projects fail and the services meet their immediate needs by reducing missile defense funds.
 

Another issue involves moving toward a very centralized command-and-control system, which could increase the risk of systemwide failure. It is important not to tinker too much with the program that has been highly successful in producing the defenses protecting the nation today. It is up to the White House and defense secretary to keep this effort on track, finish negotiations for the bases in Europe this year, and preserve the legacy of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

U.S., Poland Closer to Deal on Missile Defense

February 2, 2008

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 2, 2008; Page A16

The United States and Poland broke a logjam yesterday in negotiations over U.S. plans to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, with the Bush administration committing “in principle” to help Poland modernize its armed forces.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) shakes hands with ...
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) shakes hands with Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski after a news conference at the State Department in Washington February 1, 2008. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Poland is “satisfied that our arguments have got through,” Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said. At a news conference yesterday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sikorski said that “separate” dialogues would now continue “both on the missile defense base and on the modernization.”

Talks on the Pentagon‘s plan to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland stalled after the new Polish government, which took office in November, proved less receptive to the shield than its predecessor. With the public increasingly….

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020101910.html

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)

Japan shoots down test missile in space – defense minister

December 18, 2007

TOKYO (Thomson Financial) – Japan said Tuesday it had shot down a ballistic missile in space high above the Pacific Ocean as part of joint efforts with the United States to erect a shield against a possible attack from North Korea.Japan tested the US-developed Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor from a warship in waters off Hawaii, becoming the first US ally to intercept a target using the system.

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba described the successful test as “extremely significant.” “We will continue to strive to increase the system’s credibility,” he told reporters, insisting the missile shield was worth the high cost.

“We can’t talk about how much money should be spent when human lives are at stake.” Japan plans to spend a total of 127 billion yen over the four years to March 2008 on missile defense using the US-developed Aegis combat system, according to the defense ministry.

The naval destroyer Kongou launched the SM-3 which, at 7.12 am Japan time (2212 GMT Monday), intercepted the missile fired from onshore earlier, the navy said in a statement.

Officials said the interception was made around 100 miles (160 kilometers) above the Pacific. Japan plans to install the missile shield on four Aegis-equipped destroyers by March 2011, including the Kongou.

If the SM-3 system fails to intercept its target in space, the second stage of the shield uses ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missile interceptors to try to shoot it down.

Japan introduced its first PAC-3 missile launcher at the Iruma air force base north of Tokyo in March, one year ahead of schedule, amid tense relations with North Korea which tested a nuclear device for the first time in October last year.

Japanese authorities aim to increase the number of locations equipped with the PAC-3 system to 14 by March 2011.