Archive for the ‘Missile Defense Agency’ Category

US general urges Obama to keep missile defense

November 13, 2008

The Air Force general who runs the Pentagon’s missile defense projects said Wednesday that American interests would be “severely hurt” if President-elect Obama decided to halt plans developed by the Bush administration to install missile interceptors in Eastern Europe.

This 2008 handout image courtesy of the US Missile Defense Agency ... 
This 2008 handout image courtesy of the US Missile Defense Agency (USMDA) shows a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) being launched off the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The Pentagon’s missile defense chief Trey Obering said Wednesday he looked forward to reporting to Barack Obama that the US anti-missile system is “workable,” and to setting the president-elect’s mind at ease.(AFP/HO USMDA/File/Ho)

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, director of the Missile Defense Agency, told a group of reporters that he is awaiting word from Obama’s transition team on their interest in receiving briefings.

During the campaign, Obama was not explicit about his intentions with regard to missile defense. The program has tended to draw less support from Democrats over the years, particularly during the Reagan presidency when it was seen as a “Star Wars” effort to erect an impenetrable shield against nuclear missile attack from the Soviet Union. More recently the project has been scaled back, although it has again created an East-West divide by stirring Russian opposition to the proposed European link.

Obama has said it would be prudent to “explore the possibility of deploying missile defense systems in Europe,” in light of what he called active efforts by Iran to develop ballistic missiles as well as nuclear weapons.

U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant-General Henry ... 
U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant-General Henry Obering is seen during the Czech Republic – U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Industry Research and Business Seminar in Czernin Palace in Prague in this January 16, 2008 file photo.REUTERS/David W Cerny/Files

But Obama expressed some skepticism about the technical capability of U.S. missile defenses. He said that if elected his administration would work with NATO allies to develop anti-missile technologies.

Obering, who is leaving his post next week after more than four years in charge, said in the interview that his office has pulled together information for a presentation to the Obama team, if asked.

“What we have discovered is that a lot of the folks that have not been in this administration seem to be dated, in terms of the program,” he said. “They are kind of calibrated back in the 2000 time frame and we have come a hell of a long way since 2000. Our primary objective is going to be just, frankly, educating them on what we have accomplished, what we have been able to do and why we have confidence in what we are doing.”

Asked whether he meant that Obama or his advisers had an outdated view of missile defense, Obering said he was speaking more generally about people who have not closely followed developments in this highly technical field.

A key question for the new president will be whether to proceed with the Bush administration‘s plans to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a missile-tracking radar in the Czech Republic. That system is on track to be ready for use by 2014, Obering said. It is strongly opposed by Russia, which sees it as an unwelcome military threat close to its borders; the Bush administration says it is needed to defend European allies against an emerging missile threat from Iran.

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Ballistic Missile Defense: Doing What Was Once Thought Impossible From Warships of U.S., Japan

November 3, 2008

Warships from the U.S. and Japan demonstrated anti-ballistic missile capability during the last week in tests that were breathtaking but not perfect.

Saddam Hussein sent a shock wave through the U.S. military and also into the hearts of U.S. allies in 1991 when he used SCUD ballistic missiles during Operation Desert Storm.

At the same time the U.S. Navy sent a shock wave through the U.S. defense establishment with the news that Navy AEGIS cruisers had tracked those Iraqi SCUDS and U.S.  warship computer systems at sea calculated everything needed to achieve precision intercepts of those hostile ballistic missiles.

Now the Navy of the United States and that of the forces of Japan are deployed with ballistic missile defense capability that is being refined, varified and tested continuously.

This last weekend, USS Paul Hamilton shot down a ballistic missile target in the mid-Pacific.  This was another success in a long and highly complex ballistic missile defense development in the U.S. Navy — and in the Navy of Japan.

USS Paul Hamilton.jpg
Above: USS Paul Hamilton

The following is from the Honolulu Advertiser:

By Diana Leone
A Japanese Navy ship, the JDS Chokai, has successfully tracked a ballistic missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua’i, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.

DDG-176 Choukai.jpg
Above: Chokai, of Japan’s Navy.

The tracking practice on Thursday was preparation for a mid-November test of the Chokai’s ability to shoot down a separating missile target, said Chris Taylor, agency spokesman.

The ship used on-board radar and data from other ships and shore command to calculate a “fire control solution” and simulate an intercept of the target by a Standard Missile-3, Taylor said.

The Chokai is the second Japanese ship to deploy the Aegis weapons system developed by the U.S. and used on U.S. Navy vessels as part of the country’s overall missile defense.

Japan’s ship, the Kongo, shot down a nonseparating target at the Pacific Missile Range Facility last December. The separating target is more complex, requiring the defensive missile to distinguish between the booster rocket and the warhead missile.

DDG173 JDS Kongo.jpg
Above: Kongo

U.S. ships have successfully shot down separating targets a number of times. The mid-November attempt by the Chokai will be the first for the Japanese.

The November test will draw a “surge” of about 500 Japanese and U.S. military and contractors to Kaua’i, said Tom Clements, missile facility spokesman.
In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target ... 
In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, Saturday Nov. 1, 2008 enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai. The target missile was successfully intercepted by a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton.
In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile - 3 ... 
In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) is launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai, Hawaii Saturday Nov. 1, 2008. The SM-3 successfully collided with a ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific Missile Range Test Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. However a second threat target missile was not successfully destroyed by the USS Hopper according to the Navy.

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

European Missile Defense: Assessing Iran’s ICBM Capabilities

October 14, 2008

This is a very personal issue for us as we were involved in discussing the threat to Europe and the need for missile defense starting around 1990….
Though we disagree with much of what the Arms Control Association says, we always find some food for thought…..

From The Arms Control Association

In 1999 and 2001, the National Intelligence Council stated that Iran could develop an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015. In recent years, U.S. government agencies have affirmed those estimates, arguing that “Iran could have long-range missiles capable of reaching the U.S. and Europe before 2015” and that “proposed U.S. missile defense assets in Europe would defend the U.S. and much of Europe against long-range ballistic missile threats launched from the Middle East.”[1]  Accordingly, Washington intends to build a missile defense system in Europe by around 2012.

Can Iran field an ICBM capable of striking the United States by 2012? Iran has more than a decade of experience with developing single-stage, short-range and medium-range missiles that can reach neighboring countries and Israel. It has yet to demonstrate a capability for a longer-range missile, although within a few years it may have the means to develop and deploy a 3,000-4,000-kilometer-range missile that can strike western Europe. Iran would find it difficult, though, to field a 10,000-kilometer-range ICBM that can strike the United States by 2012-2015 unless North Korea or another country successfully develops and tests such a system and transfers it to Iran. Even with such foreign assistance, it would likely take Tehran several additional years of development and testing before it could produce and deploy a modest number of such missiles.

Iran’s Missile Programs

Iran initially sought ballistic missiles during its war with Iraq, when hundreds of Iraqi missiles struck Iranian cities. Tehran’s missile program then developed in several phases. From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, Iran purchased 300-kilometer-range Scud-B and 600-kilometer-range Scud-C missiles from North Korea, and it also indigenously assembled and built Scuds. Then Iran developed the single-stage, liquid-fuel Shahab-3 missile. This approximately 16-metric-ton missile has a range of 1,300 kilometers with a 750-kilogram payload and is derived from North Korea’s Nodong missile. The Shahab-3 was first flight-tested in July 1998 and reportedly completed its development test series after its sixth flight in July 2003.[2]

Since the turn of the century, Iran has pursued a number of other missile projects, although it has not yet flight-tested a new medium-range or long-range ballistic missile. One project involves modifications to the Shahab-3. In August 2004, Iran tested a Shahab-3 with a bulbous nose cone reportedly capable of accommodating a nuclear warhead.[3] In August 2005, Iran stated that it had increased the range of the Shahab-3 to 2,000 kilometers. Iran again tested the Shahab-3 in January 2006 and May 2006, and the January 2006 test may have involved a more advanced North Korean Nodong-B missile…..

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Bush, Putin remain apart on U.S. missile defense plan

April 6, 2008
SOCHI, Russia — President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin disagreed agreeably on key issues such as missile defense and NATO expansion Sunday after a series of meetings failed to resolve longstanding disputes.
George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice attend the NATO summit in ...
George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice attend the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania. The United States and the Czech Republic have reached agreement on the stationing in the Czech Republic of a US missile defense radar strongly opposed by Russia.(AFP/DDP/File/Michael Urban)

Appearing together for the last time as presidents, Bush and Putin, wearing matching blue suits, white shirts and red ties, pledged their nations to continued cooperation on counterterrorism, nuclear proliferation and other issues. But on the matters that had increasingly divided them in recent weeks, they made little headway.

Putin continued to object to the United States placing a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic rather than working with Russia on a jointly installed missile shield. He complimented U.S. officials, however, for pledging to make the system more transparent and working to prove that it’s not aimed at Russia.

The Russian leader, who leaves office May 7, also continued to disagree with Bush’s promotion of Ukraine and Georgia as potential new NATO members. Still, Putin said, “I am satisfied that our partners are listening to us.”

Throughout a press conference that followed Bush’s separate meetings with Putin and his successor, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, Bush and Putin referred to each other as “George” and “Vladimir,” reflecting their longstanding friendship through times of adversity. Since first meeting in 2001 in Slovenia, they have tried to use their personal relationship as a salve when their countries’ relations went downhill.

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US, Russia can’t agree on missiles

April 6, 2008

TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent 

SOCHI, Russia – President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to overcome sharp differences over a U.S. missile defense system, closing their seven-year relationship Sunday still far apart on an issue that has separated them from the beginning.

US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin ...
US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin heading into a a news conference in Sochi, Russia. The US leader has thanked his Russian counterpart for Moscow’s efforts to help ease international worries about Iran’s nuclear program.(AFP/Natalia Kolesnikova)

“Our fundamental attitude toward the American plan has not changed,” Putin said at a news conference with Bush at his vacation house at this Black Sea resort. “We got a lot of way to go,” Bush said. Despite the impasse, the two leaders agreed that Moscow and Washington would work together closely in the future on missile defense and other difficult issues.

Bush also conferred with Putin’s hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, but did not claim gaining any insight into his soul, as he had with Putin upon their first encounter. He pronounced Putin’s protege “a straightforward fellow” and said he was eager to work with him.

Putin was asked whether he — or Medvedev, the president-elect — would be in charge of Russia‘s foreign policy after May 7, when Putin steps down as president and is expected to be named prime minister.

Putin said Medvedev would be in charge, and would represent Russia at the Group of Eight meeting of industrial democracies in July in Tokyo. “Mr. Medvedev has been one of the co-authors of Russia’s foreign policy,” Putin said. “He’s completely on top of things.”

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, when asked later whether he thought Putin actually was going to cede authority on Russian foreign policy to Medvedev, said, “My guess is that these two men who have worked very closely together for now almost two decades will have a very collaborative relationship. That seems to be a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Hadley, who spoke with reporters aboard Air Force One on the way home to Washington, also said he didn’t see any prospect of a breakthrough on missile defense before Bush leaves office next January. “They can leave that to their prospective successors,” he said.

At their 28th and presumably final meeting as heads of state, Bush and Putin….

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Missile defense deal unlikely in Russia

April 5, 2008

By TERENCE HUNT, Assoaciated Press

SOCHI, Russia – President Bush began a farewell call in Russia on Saturday as the White House abandoned hope of a major agreement on missile defense during weekend talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin vigorously opposes U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe, an issue that has been a major irritant in U.S.-Russia relations.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said it will take more than a weekend of talks to reach a consensus.

“We’re going to have to do more work after Sochi,” Perino told reporters traveling with Bush on Air Force One from Zagreb, Croatia, where earlier in the day the president celebrated the expansion of NATO into former communist territory.

“No one has said that everything would be finalized and everyone would be satisfied with all the preparations because we haven’t even started to work on the technical aspects of the system,” Perino said. “We’re still in the early part of these discussions.”

But, Perino added, “the dialogue is headed in the right direction and that this meeting will be able to push that along even further.”

Though Russia opposes placing a missile defense system in its backyard, the concept won the full support of NATO leaders at a summit earlier this week in Bucharest, Romania, which Bush attended.

Perino said U.S. officials are working to convince Russia that it has little to fear from such a system.

“I think we have made great strides in bringing confidence to the Russians that this system is not aimed at Russia and Russia is not the enemy,” she said. “You’ve heard the president say the Cold War is over, and if you look at what NATO just did this past week on missile defense people have come to the realization that together, working cooperatively, we can help deter or prevent an attack from a rogue nation in the Middle East, not from Russia.”

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US briefs NATO allies on missile defense plans

March 6, 2008

(AP)BRUSSELS, Belgium – The United States briefed NATO allies Wednesday on the latest developments of its plan to station anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III, head of the US Missile Defense Agency, was joined by senior State and Defense Department officials in a meeting with envoys from the 26 NATO allies.

The talks come between visits to Washington by Czech and Polish leaders to discuss the plans.

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Lawmakers scrutinize missile shield

March 4, 2008
By DESMOND BUTLER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats are taking a closer look at the U.S. missile defense program, partly in an effort to pare down its high price tag.

The Democrats are raising questions about the effectiveness of the anti-missile program and investigating whether its testing regimen is realistic enough to demonstrate its capabilities against real attacks. Critics have long contended that the program’s tests are too predictable.

The scrutiny comes as the United States is at a sensitive moment in negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic to build part of its shield on their territory. Lawmakers are questioning the security value of those plans against stark opposition from Russia.

Rep. John Tierney said he intends, during hearings beginning Wednesday, to raise the question of whether Congress should continue present funding levels for what congressional auditors call the most expensive U.S. defense program.

“We should explore the idea of slowing the funding on this thing until we know it is going in the right direction,” said Tierney, D-Mass., a longtime skeptic of missile defense. He chairs a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that is planning to hold three to five hearings on the subject.

A spokesman for the Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency, Rick Lehner, said that scrutiny is nothing new and the agency welcomes the opportunity to provide testimony by top officials, including its chief, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III.

“We meet with lawmakers and staff almost every week,” Lehner says. “This is probably the most scrutinized program within the Department of Defense.”

Advocates of missile defense argue that the shield is necessary to counter the power that countries like Iran and North Korea would have to threaten the United States and its allies should they develop long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear, biological or chemical warheads.

Some have pointed to the recent use of modified missile defense interceptors to destroy a damaged U.S. satellite as a sign of the program’s progress, although U.S. officials denied the interception was a test and critics say the satellite was a far easier target than a warhead would be.

Tierney’s first hearing on Wednesday will look at the threat the United States and allies face from ballistic missiles. A second hearing in early March is aimed at evaluating the costs of the program.

Tierney said he hopes to touch on U.S. plans to install a radar system in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptors in Poland as part of the system intended to extend the shield to Europe.

Those plans have been a source of intense friction with Russia, which opposes the move to base the radar and interceptors so close to its borders and contends the move is aimed at undermining the deterrent from its nuclear arsenal. It has even threatened to target missiles on Poland if the plan is put into force.

The United States insists the European shield is aimed at countering threats from countries it considers rogues, like Iran and North Korea.

“You could look into what are you doing in the Czech Republic and Poland,” said Tierney. “Why we are having a big international spitfire on an issue that isn’t appropriately tested?”

Congressional Democrats so far have withheld a small amount of the money requested from the Bush administration for the construction of the Polish site and have said they will not provide it until the Czech and Polish governments approve the plan.

The Czech government appears close to allowing the radar array, but talks with the Polish government are hung up over demands from Warsaw for more help in modernizing its military.

The Senate Armed Services Committee could touch on the missile defense plans in Europe in a hearing planned for early April. The committee also intends to question Missile Defense Agency officials about delays in some of its programs and cost overruns.

China: No to U.S. Missile Shot at Satellite

February 17, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) – China is concerned by U.S. plans to shoot down an ailing spy satellite and is considering what “preventative measures” to take, the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

“The Chinese government is paying close attention to how the situation develops and demands the U.S. side fulfill its international obligations and avoids causing damage to security in outer space and of other countries,” spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

President George W. Bush has decided to have the Navy shoot the 5,000-pound (2,270 kg) satellite with a modified tactical missile after security advisers suggested its re-entry could lead to a loss of life, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

“Relevant departments in China are closely watching the situation and studying preventive measures,” Liu said in a brief statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s Web site (

On Saturday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the U.S. plan could be used as a cover to test a new space weapon.

It will be the first time the United States has conducted an anti-satellite operation since the 1980s. Russia also has not conducted anti-satellite activities in 20 years.

China launched a ground-based missile into an obsolete weather satellite in January 2007, drawing international criticism and worries inside the Pentagon that Beijing has the ability to target critical military assets in space.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)

Related (with video):
Russia Says U.S. Satellite May Be “Space Weapon” Test

Navy Will Attempt to Down Spy Satellite

U.S. Navy Missile Destroys Dangerous Satellite

China calls on US to provide data on satellite shootdown

Gates says U.S. will share satellite destruction data with China

Graphic of operation to destroy US spy satellite. A US missile ...

Japan, U.S. Complete “Historic” Missile Defense Exercises

December 18, 2007

Rear Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Lt. General Henry “Trey” Obering III, Director of the United Stated Missile Defense Agency, announced today the successful completion of the cooperative Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) intercept flight test, conducted off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii.

The event, designated Japan Flight Test Mission 1 (JFTM-1), marked the first time that an allied navy ship successfully intercepted a ballistic missile targe using the midcourse engagement capability provided by Aegis BMD including the SM-3 missile.

The JFTM-1 test event verified the new engagement capability of the midcourse Aegis BMD configuration of the recently upgraded Japanese destroyer, JS KONGO (DDG-173) weapons system. 

At approximately 12:05 pm (HST), 7:05 am Tokyo time on Dec. 18, 2007, a ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. JS KONGO crew members detected and tracked the target.  The Aegis Weapon System then developed a fire control solution and at approximately 12:08 pm (HST),
7:08 am Tokyo time, the crew of KONG launched a Standard Missile -3 (SM-3) Block IA.

Approximately 3 minutes later, the SM-3 successfully intercepted the target approximately 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean.  FTM-1 marked the first live-fire SM-3 launch and intercept by a ship of Japan’s navy, a major milestone in the growing cooperative program on ballistic missile defense between Japan and the U.S.

Japan previously participated with its warships tracking, testing communications and data links and collecting data and training opportunities during U.S. ballistic missile defense events. 
 Media contacts: Pam Rogers, MDA Public Affairs, at  (808) 335-4740/8020 (PMRF),
(256) 503-3726 cell and Rick Lehner, MDA Public Affairs, at (703) 697-8997.  Photos are available at (MDA and Navy Visual News) websites.  Post event video will be available at 4:00-5:00 p.m. (HST), 9:00-10:00 p.m. (EST), Satellite Digital Feed, AMC 3, Transponder 8A, FEC 3/4, Data Rate 5.5, DL Frequency 11845V.  Symbol Rate 3.9787.  Analog Feed AMC 3TR8, DL Frequency 11860 V.  Trouble uplink 678-313-6001.  Video also available from DVIDs and Navy Visual News Streambox.

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED

(Parts of this U.S. Government release were re-written by Peace and Freedom due to grammatical errors)