Skip to comments.Missile Defense Test Yields Successful 'Hit to Kill' Intercept
Posted on 06/23/2006 7:21:38 PM PDT by SandRat
WASHINGTON, June 23, 2006 The Missile Defense Agency and the Navy conducted a successful "hit to kill" missile defense test yesterday off the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The test involved the launch of a Standard Missile 3 from the Aegis-class cruiser USS Shiloh to hit a "separating" target, meaning that the target warhead separated from its booster rocket, officials said.
"Hit to kill" technology uses direct collision of the interceptor missile with the target, destroying the target using only kinetic energy from the force of the collision.
It was the seventh successful intercept test involving the sea-based component of the nation's ballistic missile defense system in eight attempts, Missile Defense Agency officials noted.
"We are continuing to see great success with the very challenging technology of hit-to-kill, a technology that is used for all of our missile defense ground and sea-based interceptor missiles," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry "Trey" Obering, Missile Defense Agency director.
At about noon Hawaii time -- 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time -- a target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on Kauai. USS Shiloh's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense 3.6 Weapon System detected and tracked the target and "developed a fire control solution," officials said. About four minutes later, the USS Shiloh's crew fired the SM-3, and two minutes later the missile intercepted the target warhead outside the Earth's atmosphere, more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and 250 miles northwest of Kauai.
This was the USS Shiloh's first missile defense test since completing modifications and upgrades to its SPY-1 radar and advanced communications system to make it capable of serving as a sea-based missile defense platform. It was also the first time the new weapon system configuration and a new missile configuration were used during the intercept mission.
Three Aegis destroyers also participated in the flight test. One Aegis destroyer, equipped with a modified version of the Aegis ballistic missile defense weapon system, linked with a land-based missile defense radar to evaluate the ability of the ship's missile defense system to receive and use target data via the missile defense system's command, control, battle management and communications architecture.
Two other Aegis destroyers stationed off Kauai, including one from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, performed long-range surveillance and track exercises. This information can also be used to provide targeting information for other missile defense systems, including the ground-based long-range interceptor missiles now deployed in Alaska and California, to protect all 50 states from a limited ballistic missile attack, officials said. This event marked the first time an allied military unit participated in a U.S. Aegis missile defense intercept test.
Another U.S. Navy Aegis cruiser used the flight test to support development of a SPY-1B radar modified by the addition of a new signal processor, collecting performance data on its increased target detection and discrimination capabilities.
(From a Missile Defense Agency news release.)
Ronnie was right all along on STAR WARS!
My son was a part of this test at the Kauai site. One of the Engineers that built and launched the target missle -- sorry just a Dad puffing his chest out a little.
If we whack NK's missile, you'll hear the libs screaming.
Ok,.... let em scream. I enjoy them screaming more than the sound a live lobster makes when you toss it in a big pot of boiling water.
Aw darn! I was hoping it was Pelosi that got hit!
Uh, duh....what happens if one of these test missles takes out a real attempted Korean missle....and uh, then, um, another of our missles goes off in, uh, a different direction a little and uhm...actually hits Korea , uh by accident, you know?
that would be awful, huh?
So from the 38th parallel to the Yalu River we would have the Korean Sea. Where's the problem?
The Aegis system is becoming unbelievably potent.
Of course he was, why do you think we're called "the right"!
You should be proud, he sounds like quite fellow.
I have been privileged to be at Barking Sands for two successful tests off Kauai myself. First time we went out in a launch along the Napali coast we got to view the Lake Erie fire her interceptor. Way cool.
060622-N-0000X-001 Pacific Ocean (June 22, 2006) - A Standard Missile Three (SM-3) is launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) during a joint Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy ballistic missile flight test. Two minutes later, the SM-3 intercepted a separating ballistic missile threat target, launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. The test was the seventh intercept, in eight program flight tests, by the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense. The maritime capability is designed to intercept short to medium-range ballistic missile threats in the midcourse phase of flight. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)
060622-N-0000X-002 Pacific Ocean (June 22, 2006) - A Standard Missile Three (SM-3) is launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) during a joint Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy ballistic missile flight test. Two minutes later, the SM-3 intercepted a separating ballistic missile threat target, launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. The test was the seventh intercept, in eight program flight tests, by the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense. The maritime capability is designed to intercept short to medium-range ballistic missile threats in the midcourse phase of flight. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)
060622-N-0000X-003 Pacific Ocean (June 22, 2006) - A Standard Missile Three (SM-3) is launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) during a joint Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy ballistic missile flight test. Two minutes later, the SM-3 intercepted a separating ballistic missile threat target, launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. The test was the seventh intercept, in eight program flight tests, by the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense. The maritime capability is designed to intercept short to medium-range ballistic missile threats in the midcourse phase of flight. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)
In the future, we'll be firing off "hijacker interceptors".
Our missile defense will one day intercept and latch onto the warheads and guide them back to their point of origin.
Still only a fraction of what it was going to be...and then the Grinch stole Xmas. The Xlintons killed the NMD capability of the SM-3 missile being deployed. They shrank the upper stage from 21 inch diameter to only 13, resulting in seriously less speed and range. They also killed its planned ability to take updated "combined" targetting information from other platforms. [CEC] Unfortunately, despite over five years in office the current administration, as much as it has doen to start down the path of NMD, it has failed to undo a lot of what Clinton did to wreck this, the most viable, and promising system. The administration, while taking bows for killing the ABM Treaty, hasn't really deployed much of anything really, and in fact, killed the Navy Area Wide defense missile which would have been vastly more robust as an interceptor. Likley because of a Faustian bargain with the Russians who insisted on keeping our nascent NMD "Limited"...and they regarded seaborne NMD as particularly "Unlimited" in potential...which indeed it is. So I suspect that Pooty-Poot suckered "W" into killing Navy Area Wide. Which was added to the "Moscow Treaty" disarmament agreement in a "Strategic Framework Agreement."
[Word to the wise: Any time an agreement has the term "framework" in it...its the U.S. getting hosed.]
Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk. We do need to know where we go from here. I would first of all, tell the Russians that their "Strategic Framework Agreement" is no longer "operative." And then push for a true, widely-deployed Seaborne NMD.
Here are some additional issues and options we need to consider from this Congressional Research Service report by Ronald O'rourke,
Replacement for NAD Program.114 Should the canceled Navy Area Defense (NAD) program be replaced with a new sea-based terminal missile defense program?
In December 2001, DOD announced that it had canceled the Navy Area Defense (NAD) program, the program that was being pursued as the Sea-Based Terminal portion of the Administrations overall missile-defense effort. (The NAD program was also sometimes called the Navy Lower Tier program.) In announcing its decision, DOD cited poor performance, significant cost overruns, and substantial development delays.
The NAD system was to have been deployed on Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers. It was designed to intercept short- and medium-range theater ballistic missiles in the final, or descent, phase of flight, so as to provide local-area defense of U.S. ships and friendly forces, ports, airfields, and other critical assets ashore. The program involved modifying both the Aegis ships radar capabilities and the Standard SM-2 Block IV air-defense missile fired by Aegis ships. The missile, as modified, was called the Block IVA version. The system was designed to intercept descending missiles within the Earths atmosphere (endoatmospheric intercept) and destroy them with the Block IVA missiles blast-fragmentation warhead.
Following cancellation of the program, DOD officials stated that the requirement for a sea-based terminal system remained intact. This led some observers to believe that a replacement for the NAD program might be initiated. In May 2002, however, DOD announced that instead of starting a replacement program, MDA had instead decided on a two-part strategy to (1) modify the Standard SM-3 missile the missile to be used in the sea-based midcourse (i.e., Upper Tier) program to intercept ballistic missiles at somewhat lower altitudes, and (2) modify the SM-2 Block four air defense missile (i.e., a missile designed to shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles) to cover some of the remaining portion of the sea-based terminal defense requirement. DOD officials said the two modified missiles could together provide much (but not all) of the capability that was to have been provided by the NAD program. One aim of the modification strategy, DOD officials suggested, was to avoid the added costs to the missile defense program of starting a replacement sea-based terminal defense program.
In October 2002, it was reported thatIn light of PLA TBM modernization efforts, including the possibility of TBMs equipped with MaRVs capable of hitting moving ships at sea, one issue is whether a new sea-based terminal-defense procurement program should be started to replace all (not just most) of the capability that was to have been provided by the NAD program, and perhaps even improve on the NADs planned capability. In July 2004 it was reported that The Navys senior leadership is rebuilding the case for a sea-based terminal missile defense requirement that would protect U.S. forces flowing through foreign ports and Navy ships from short-range missiles, according to Vice Adm. John Nathman, the Navys top requirements advocate.
Senior navy officials, however, continue to speak of the need for a sea-based terminal BMD capability sooner rather than later and have proposed a path to get there. The cancellation of the Navy Area missile defence programme left a huge hole in our developing basket of missile-defence capabilities, said Adm. [Michael] Mullen. Cancelling the programme didnt eliminate the warfighting requirement.
The nation, not just the navy, needs a sea-based area missile defence capability, not to protect our ships as much as to protect our forces ashore, airports and seaports of debarkation and critical overseas infrastructure including protection of friends and allies.115
The above-quoted Admiral Mullen became the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) on July 22, 2005.
The new requirement, Nathman said, would fill the gap left when the Pentagon terminated the Navy Area missile defense program in December 2001. ... However, he emphasized the Navy is not looking to reinstate the old [NAD] system. Thats exactly what we are not talking about, he said March 24.... The need to bring back a terminal missile defense program was made clear after reviewing the analytic case for the requirement, he said. Though Nathman could only talk in general terms about the analysis, due to its classified nature, he said its primary focus was pacing the threat issues. Such issues involve threats that are not a concern today, but could be in the future, he said. Part of the purpose of the study was to look at the potential time line for those threats and the regions where they could emerge.116
Reported options for a NAD-replacement program include a system using a modified version of the Armys Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor or a system using a modified version of the Navys new Standard Missile 6 Extended Range Active Missile (SM-6 ERAM) air defense missile.117
Aegis Radar Upgrades. Should the radar capabilities of the Navys Aegis cruisers and destroyers be upgraded more quickly or extensively than now planned?
Current plans for upgrading the radar capabilities of the Navys Aegis cruisers and destroyers include the Aegis ballistic missile defense signal processor (BSP), which forms part of the planned Block 06 version of the Navys Aegis ballistic missile defense capability. Installing the Aegis BSP improves the ballistic missile target-discrimination performance of the Aegis ships SPY-1 phased array radar.
In light of PLA TBM modernization efforts, including the possibility of TBMs equipped with MaRVs capable of hitting moving ships at sea, one issue is whether current plans for developing and installing the Aegis BSP are adequate, and whether those plans are sufficiently funded. A second issue is whether there are other opportunities for improving the radar capabilities of the Navys Aegis cruisers and destroyers that are not currently being pursued or are funded at limited levels, and if so, whether funding for these efforts should be increased.
Ships with DD(X)/CG(X) Radar Capabilities. Should planned annual procurement rates for ships with DD(X)/CG(X) radar capabilities be increased?
The Navy plans to procure a new kind of destroyer called the DD(X) and a new kind of cruiser called the CG(X). The Navy plans to begin DD(X) procurement in FY2007, and CG(X) procurement in FY2011. The Navy had earlier planned to begin CG(X) procurement in FY2018, but accelerated the planned start of procurement to FY2011 as part of its FY2006-FY2011 Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP). DD(X)s and CG(X)s would take about five years to build, so the first DD(X), if procured in FY2007, might enter service in 2012, and the first CG(X), if procured in FY2011, might enter service in 2016.
The Navy states that the DD(X)s radar capabilities will be greater in certain respects than those of Navy Aegis ships. The radar capabilities of the CG(X) are to be greater still, and the CG(X) has been justified primarily in connection with future air and missile defense operations.
Estimated DD(X)/CG(X) procurement costs increased substantially between 2004 and 2005. Apparently as a consequence of these increased costs, the FY2006- FY2011 FYDP submitted to Congress in early 2005 reduced planned DD(X) procurement to one ship per year. The reduction in the planned DD(X) procurement rate suggests that, unless budget conditions change, the combined DD(X)/CG(X) procurement rate might remain at one ship per year beyond FY2011. 118
If improvements to Aegis radar capabilities are not sufficient to achieve the Navys desired radar capability for countering modernized PLA TBMs, then DD(X)/CG(X) radar capabilities could become important to achieving this desired capability. If so, then a potential additional issue raised by PLA TBM modernization efforts is whether a combined DD(X)/CG(X) procurement rate of one ship per year would be sufficient to achieve this desired capability in a timely manner. If the Navy in the future maintains a total of 11 or 12 carrier strike groups (CSGs), and if DD(X)/CG(X) procurement proceeds at a rate of one ship per year, the Navy would not have 11 or 12 DD(X)s and CG(X)s one DD(X) or CG(X) for each of 11 or 12 CSGs until 2022 or 2023. If CG(X)s are considered preferable to DD(X)s for missile defense operations, then the earliest the Navy could have 11 or 12 CG(X)s would be 2026 or 2027.
DD(X)/CG(X) radar technologies could be introduced into the fleet more quickly by procuring DD(X)s and CG(X)s at a higher rate, such as two ships per year, which is the rate the Navy envisaged in a report the Navy provided to Congress in 2003. A DD(X)/CG(X) procurement rate of two ships per year, however, could make it more difficult for the Navy to procure other kinds of ships or meet other funding needs, particularly in light of the recent growth in estimated DD(X)/CG(X) procurement costs.
A potential alternative strategy would be to design a reduced-cost alternative to the DD(X)/CG(X) that preserves DD(X)/CG(X) radar capabilities while reducing other DD(X)/CG(X) payload elements. Such a ship could more easily be procured at a rate of two ships per year within available resources. The option of a reduced-cost alternative to the DD(X)/CG(X) that preserves certain DD(X)/CG(X) capabilities while reducing others is discussed in more detail in another CRS report.119
Block II/Block IIA Version of SM-3 Interceptor. If feasible, should the effort to develop the Block II/Block IIA version of the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor missile be accelerated?
The Navy plans to use the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor for intercepting TBMs during the midcourse portion of their flight. As part of the Aegis ballistic missile defense block upgrade strategy, the United States and Japan are cooperating in developing technologies for a more-capable version of the SM-3 missile called the SM-3 Block II/Block IIA. In contrast to the current version of the SM-3, which has a 21-inch-diameter booster stage but is 13.5 inches in diameter along the remainder of its length, the Block II/Block IIA version would have a 21- inch diameter along its entire length. The increase in diameter to a uniform 21 inches would give the missile a burnout velocity (a maximum velocity, reached at the time the propulsion stack burns out) that is 45% to 60% greater than that of the current 13.5-inch version of the SM-3. 120 The Block IIA version would also include a improved kinetic warhead.121 The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) states that the Block II/Block IIA version of the missile could engage many [ballistic missile] targets that would outpace, fly over, or be beyond the engagement range of earlier versions of the SM-3, and that
the net result, when coupled with enhanced discrimination capability, is more types and ranges of engageable [ballistic missile] targets; with greater probability of kill, and a large increase in defenses footprint or geography predicted.... The SM-3 Blk II/IIA missile with it[s] full 21-inch propulsion stack provides the necessary fly out acceleration to engage IRBM and certain ICBM threats.122Regarding the status of the program, MDA states that The Block II/IIA development plan is undergoing refinement. MDA plans to proceed with the development of the SM-3 Blk II/IIA missile variant if an agreeable cost share with Japan can be reached.... [The currently envisaged development plan] may have to be tempered by budget realities for the agency.123
In March 2005, the estimated total development cost for the Block II/Block IIA missile was reportedly $1.4 billion.124 In September 2005, it was reported that this estimate had more than doubled, to about $3 billion.125 MDA had estimated that the missile could enter service in 2013 or 2014, 126 but this date reportedly has now slipped to 2015. 127
In light of PLA TBM modernization efforts, a potential question is whether, if feasible, the effort to develop the Block II/Block IIA missile should be accelerated, and if so, whether this should be done even if this requires the United States to assume a greater share of the development cost. A key factor in this issue could be assessments of potential PLA deployments of longer-ranged PLA TBMs.
Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI). Should funding for development of the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) be increased?
The Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) is a proposed new ballistic missile interceptor that, if developed, would be used as a ground-based interceptor and perhaps subsequently as a sea-based interceptor. Compared to the SM-3, the KEI would be much larger (perhaps 40 inches in diameter and 36 feet in length) and would have a much higher burnout velocity. Basing the KEI on a ship would require the ship to have missile-launch tubes that are bigger than those currently installed on Navy cruisers, destroyers, and attack submarines. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), which has been studying possibilities for basing the KEI at sea, plans to select a preferred platform in May 2006. 128 Because of its much higher burnout velocity, the KEI could be used to intercept longer-ranged ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during the boost and early ascent phases of their flights. Development funding for the KEI has been reduced in recent budgets, slowing the missiles development schedule. Under current plans, the missile could become available for Navy use in 2014-2015. 129
Although the KEI is often discussed in connection with intercepting ICBMs, it might also be of value as a missile for intercepting TBMs, particularly longer-range TBMs, which are called Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs). If so, then in the context of this report, one potential question is whether the Navy should use the KEI as a complement to the SM-3 for countering PLA TBMs, and if so, whether development funding for the KEI should be increased so as to make the missile available for Navy use before 2014-2015. ___________________________________
114 This section includes material adapted from the discussion of the NAD program in CRS Report RL31111, Missile Defense: The Current Debate, coordinated by Steven A. Hildreth. Navy Warfare Areas and Programs Missile Defense.
115 Michael Sirak, Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defence: The Standard Response, Janes Defence Weekly, October 30, 2002.
116 Malina Brown, Navy Rebuilding Case For Terminal Missile Defense Requirement, Inside the Navy, April 19, 2004.
117 See, for example, Jason Ma and Christopher J. Castelli, Adaptation Of PAC-3 For Sea-Based Terminal Missile Defense Examined, Inside the Navy, July 19, 2004; Malina Brown, Navy Rebuilding Case For Terminal Missile Defense Requirement, Inside the Navy, April 19, 2004.
118 For more on the DD(X) and CG(X), see CRS Report RS20159, Navy DD(X) and CG(X) Programs: Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald ORourke; and CRS Report RL32109, Navy DD(X), CG(X), and LCS Ship Acquisition Programs: Oversight Issues and Options for Congress, by Ronald ORourke.
119 See the Options For Congress section of CRS Report RL32109, op cit.
120 The 13.5-inch version has a reported burnout velocity of 3.0 to 3.5 kilometers per second (kps). See, for example, J. D. Marshall, The Future Of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, point paper dated October 15, 2004, available at [http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/259.pdf]; STANDARD Missile-3 Destroyers a Ballistic Missile Target in Test of Sea-based Missile Defense System, Raytheon news release circa January 26, 2002, available on the Internet at [http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/micro_stories.pl?ACCT=683194&TICK=RTN4& STORY=/www/story/01-26-2002/0001655926&EDATE=Jan+26,+2002]; and Hans Mark, A White Paper on the Defense Against Ballistic Missiles, The Bridge, summer 2001, pp. 17-26, available on the Internet at [http://www.nae.edu/nae/bridgecom.nsf/weblinks/ NAEW-63BM86/$FILE/BrSum01.pdf?OpenElement]. See also the section on Sea-Based Midcourse in CRS Report RL31111, Missile Defense: The Current Debate, coordinated by Steven A. Hildreth.
121 Source for information on SM-3: Missile Defense Agency, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense SM-3 Block IIA (21-Inch) Missile Plan (U), August 2005, a 9-page point paper provided by MDA to CRS, August 24, 2005.
122 Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense SM-3 Block IIA (21-Inch) Missile Plan (U), August 2005, op cit, pp. 3-4.
123 Ibid., p. 3.
124 Aarti Shah, U.S. Navy Working With Japanese On Billion-Dollar Missile Upgrade, Inside the Navy, March 14, 2005.
125 Cost Of Joint Japan-U.S. Interceptor System Triples, Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan), September 25, 2005.
126 Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense SM-3 Block IIA (21-Inch) Missile Plan (U), August 2005, op cit, p. 7.
127 Cost Of Joint Japan-U.S. Interceptor System Triples, Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan), September 25, 2005.
128 Marc Selinger, MDA TO Pick Platform For Sea-Based KEI in May, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, August 19, 2005: 2.
129 Government Accountability Office, Defense Acquisitions[:] Assessments of Selected Major Weapon Programs, GAO-05-301, March 2005, pp. 89-90. See also Thomas Duffy, Northrop, MDA Working On KEI Changes Spurred By $800 Million Cut, Inside Missile Defense, March 30, 2005: p. 1.
Thank you for being there. It is so good to know that we are doing something.
Another thank you to Mr. Clinton for giving away launch stability secrets to our enemy.
Freepers are everywhere bump. No Shenanigans for Kim Jong Il.
can we intercept before it hits Tokyo?