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    US ABM Systems

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    max steel

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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:01 pm

    SERIOUS FLAWS REVEALED IN U.S. ANTI-MISSILE NUCLEAR DEFENSE AGAINST NORTH KOREA

    Two serious technical flaws have been identified in the ground-launched anti-missile interceptors that the United States would rely on to defend against a nuclear attack by North Korea.

    Pentagon officials were informed of the problems as recently as last summer but decided to postpone corrective action. They told federal auditors that acting immediately to fix the defects would interfere with the production of new interceptors and slow a planned expansion of the nation's homeland missile defense system, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

    As a result, all 33 interceptors now deployed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County and Ft. Greely, Alaska, have one of the defects. Ten of those interceptors — plus eight being prepared for delivery this year — have both.

    Summing up the effect on missile-defense readiness, the GAO report said that "the fielded interceptors are susceptible to experiencing … failure modes," resulting in "an interceptor fleet that may not work as intended."

    The flaws could disrupt sensitive on-board systems that are supposed to steer the interceptors into enemy missiles in space.

    The GAO report, an annual assessment of missile defense programs prepared for congressional committees, describes the problems in terse, technical terms. Defense specialists interviewed by The Times provided more detail.

    The interceptors form the heart of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, GMD for short. Four of the massive, three-stage rockets are stationed at Vandenberg and 29 at Ft. Greely.

    They would rise out of underground silos in response to an attack. Atop each interceptor is a 5-foot-long "kill vehicle," designed to separate from its boost rocket in space, fly independently at a speed of 4 miles per second and crash into an enemy warhead — a feat that has been likened to hitting one bullet with another.

    The GMD system was deployed in 2004 as part of the nation's response to Sept. 11, 2001, and a heightened fear of attack by terrorist groups or rogue states. It has cost taxpayers more than $40 billion so far and has been plagued by technical deficiencies.

    One of the newly disclosed shortcomings centers on wiring harnesses embedded within the kill vehicles' dense labyrinth of electronics.

    A supplier used an unsuitable soldering material to assemble harnesses in at least 10 interceptors deployed in 2009 and 2010 and still part of the fleet.

    The same material was used in the eight interceptors that will be placed in silos this year, according to GAO analyst Cristina Chaplain, lead author of the report.

    The soldering material is vulnerable to corrosion in the interceptors' underground silos, some of which have had damp conditions and mold. Corrosion "could have far-reaching effects" because the "defective wiring harnesses" supply power and data to the kill vehicle's on-board guidance system, said the GAO report, which is dated May 6.

    When Boeing Co., prime contractor for the GMD system, informed government officials of the problem last summer, they did not insist upon repair or replacement of the defective harnesses, according to the report.

    Instead, Missile Defense Agency officials "assessed the likelihood for the component's degradation in the operational environment as low and decided to accept the component as is," the report said.

    The decision minimized delays in producing new interceptors, "but increased the risk for future reliability failures," the report said.

    Chaplain told The Times that based on her staff's discussions with the Missile Defense Agency, officials there have "no timeline" for repairing the wiring harnesses.

    The agency encountered a similar problem with wiring harnesses years earlier, and the supplier was instructed not to use the deficient soldering material. But "the corrective actions were not passed along to other suppliers," according to the GAO report.

    L. David Montague, co-chairman of a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed operations of the Missile Defense Agency, said officials should promptly set a schedule for fixing the harnesses.

    "The older they are with that kind of a flawed soldering, the more likely they are to fail," Montague, a former president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp., said in an interview.

    The second newly disclosed defect involves a component called a divert thruster, a small motor intended to help maneuver the kill vehicles in flight. Each kill vehicle has four of them.

    The GAO report refers to "performance issues" with the thrusters. It offers few details, and GAO auditors declined to elaborate, citing a fear of revealing classified information. They did say that the problem is different from an earlier concern that the thruster's heavy vibrations could throw off the kill vehicle's guidance system.

    The report and interviews with defense specialists make clear that problems with the divert thruster have bedeviled the interceptor fleet for years. To address deficiencies in the original version, Pentagon contractors created a redesigned "alternate divert thruster."

    The government planned to install the new version in many of the currently deployed interceptors over the next few years and to retrofit newly manufactured interceptors, according to the GAO report and interviews with its authors.

    That plan was scrapped after the alternate thruster, in November 2013, failed a crucial ground test to determine whether it could withstand the stresses of flight, the report said. To stay on track for expanding the fleet, senior Pentagon officials decided to keep building interceptors with the original, deficient thruster.

    The GAO report faulted the Missile Defense Agency, an arm of the Pentagon, for "omitting steps in the design process" of the alternate thruster in the rush to deploy more interceptors. The skipped steps would have involved a lengthier, more rigorous vetting of the new design, defense specialists said. The report said the omission contributed to the 2013 test failure.

    All 33 interceptors now deployed have the original, defective thruster. The eight interceptors to be added to the fleet this year will contain the same component, GAO officials told The Times.

    The missile agency currently "does not plan to fix" those thrusters, despite their "known performance issues," said the GAO report.

    Contractors are continuing to work on the alternate thruster, hoping to correct whatever caused the ground-test failure. The first test flight using the alternate thruster is scheduled for late this year.

    The GAO had recommended that the Pentagon postpone integrating the eight new interceptors into the fleet until after that test. Defense Department officials rebuffed the recommendation, the report said.

    In a response included in the report, Assistant Secretary of Defense Katharina G. McFarland wrote that delaying deployment of the new interceptors "would unacceptably increase the risk" that the Pentagon would fall short of its goal of expanding the GMD system from 33 interceptors to 44 by the end of 2017.

    Asked for comment on the report, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, Richard Lehner, said in a statement that officials "have in place a comprehensive, disciplined program to improve and enhance" the GMD system "regarding the issues noted by the GAO."

    "We will continue to work closely with our industry partners to ensure quality standards are not only met, but exceeded," the statement said.Boeing declined to comment.

    The GMD system is designed to repel a "limited" missile attack by a non-superpower adversary, such as North Korea. The nation's defense against a massive nuclear assault by Russia or China still relies on "mutually assured destruction," the Cold War notion that neither country would strike first for fear of a devastating counterattack.

    GMD's roots go back to the Clinton administration, when concern began to mount over the international spread of missile technology and nuclear development programs. In 2002, President Bush ordered "an initial set of missile defense capabilities" to be put in place within two years to protect the U.S.

    To accelerate deployment, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld exempted the missile agency from the Pentagon's standard procurement rules and testing standards.

    Engineers trace the system's difficulties to the breakneck pace at which components were produced and fielded. In precisely scripted flight tests above the Pacific, interceptors have failed to hit mock-enemy warheads about half the time.

    As a result, the missile agency projects that four or five interceptors would have to be fired at any single enemy warhead, according to current and former government officials. Under this scenario, a volley of 10 enemy missiles could exhaust the entire U.S. inventory of interceptors.

    The Obama administration, after resisting calls for a larger system, pledged two years ago to increase the number of interceptors to 44. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have pushed for further expansion. The House this month passed a bill authorizing $30 million to plan and design a site for interceptors on the East Coast. The White House called the move "premature."
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    THAAD ABM System

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:18 pm

    Guess US is also working on GAN semiconductor for their THAAD-ER radars. ( Quoting someone from another forum)



    RAYTHEON AWARDED $29.3 MILLION PHASE 3 CONTRACT FOR WIDE BANDGAP SEMICONDUCTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

    Raytheon Company has been awarded a $23.9 million phase 3 contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to continue work on the agency's Wide Bandgap Semiconductor (WBGS) Development program.

    Raytheon is demonstrating that transmit-receive modules using GaN-powered monolithic microwave integrated circuit amplifiers have a significant performance advantage in that they provide significantly higher radio frequency power with greater efficiency than current modules. GaN technology significantly extends the warfighter's reach into the battlespace by increasing radar ranges, sensitivity and search capabilities. Alternatively, the technology enables reduction in the size of the antenna, which improves transportability and reduces acquisition and lifecycle costs without sacrificing performance.


    This 38-month phase of the program is a collaboration between DARPA and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Its objective is to rapidly mature and demonstrate the capabilities of gallium nitride (GaN) to improve the performance of missile defense radars. To accelerate the technology development, it will combine the results of Raytheon's DARPA-funded WBGS Phase 2 and the MDA-funded Next Generation Transmit Receive Integrated Microwave Module programs.

    "Our research continues to demonstrate that GaN technology will improve the capability and performance of current and future military systems," said Michael Del Checcolo, vice president of Engineering for Raytheon Integrated Systems. "Under the WBGS program, we have the opportunity to combine research findings from multiple organizations, allowing us to develop and provide the most advanced technologies to help keep our warfighters and homeland safe."
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:50 pm

    US Army Uses Northrop Grumman-Built System to Destroy Multiple Targets in Air and Missile Defense Test




    The IBCS utilized sensors and interceptors from different air defense systems connected at the component level to operate on the IBCS integrated fire control network. Using tracking data from Sentinel and Patriot radars, the IBCS provided the command-and-control (C2) for a Patriot Advanced Capability Three (PAC-3) interceptor to destroy a ballistic missile target and a PAC-2 interceptor to destroy a cruise missile target.

    IBCS replaces seven legacy C2 systems to deliver a single integrated air picture and offer the flexibility to deploy smaller force packages. By networking sensors and interceptors, IBCS provides wider area surveillance and broader protection areas. With its truly open systems architecture, IBCS enables integration of current and future sensors and weapon systems and interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system.
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  George1 on Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:33 am

    Obama Plans to Spend $38Bln on Missile Defense Over Next Five Years

    President Barack Obama has approved $38 billion for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) through 2020 despite it only conducting one successful test against an intercontinental ballistic missile in eight years, a Government Accountability office (GAO) report revealed.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — An earlier GAO report on US missile defense on February 17, 2016 stated that the MDA had failed to demonstrate through flight testing that it could defend the US homeland against the current missile defense threat.

    It also noted that a full assessment of the system’s effectiveness was currently not possible.

    "MDA plans to spend around $38 billion through fiscal year 2020 to continue its efforts to develop, integrate, and field BMDS [ballistic missile defense systems] elements and targets necessary for testing," the report said on Thursday.

    The MDA has claimed only one successful interception of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-like target in the past eight years of tests.

    "Since 2002, MDA has received approximately $123 billion to develop and deploy the BMDS, which is a highly complex group of systems," the GAO report stated.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20160429/1038805092/missile-defense-obama.html#ixzz47AugKWhr


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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:26 pm

    US Missile Defense Agency Fails to Meet 2015 Testing Goals



    To execute all of its delayed and planned flight tests, the MDA must increase its pace by conducting more tests, delaying tests, or removing tests, the GAO stated.

    "GAO found that while the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully conducted key flight and ground tests for the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) in fiscal year 2015, it did not achieve its testing goals," the report stated on Thursday. "MDA conducted 11 out of 20 flight tests."

    The GAO warned that the failure to carry out the full testing program increased the risk for future testing delays.

    "From fiscal year 2010 to 2015, MDA delayed or removed about 40 percent of its planned flight tests… The constant change to BMDS testing makes it difficult to trace progress and costs," the report noted.

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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Wed May 04, 2016 1:47 pm

    The $161 billion missile system designed to protect the US from Iran and North Korea is falling behind schedule

    The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has had to scrap 40 percent of the tests for a multibillion-dollar program that is supposed to protect the country from long-range ballistic missile threats like North Korea and Iran, according to a new federal watchdog report.

    The Government Accountability Office’s latest annual audit of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) found that risky purchasing practices, including simultaneous development and production of new anti-ballistic missiles (a.k.a. interceptors), and the use of unproven targets mean the MDA might have trouble meeting the Obama Administration’s goal of fielding the system by 2018.

    Furthermore, the “constant change to BMDS testing makes it difficult to trace progress and costs,” according to GAO.

    The system, composed of a variety of sea- and ground-based interceptors and an accompanying command-and control system, has cost taxpayers $123 billion to develop since 2002. The Defense Department estimates it will spend an additional $38 billion on BMDS through 2021, for a total of $161 billion.

    However, between fiscal years 2010 and 2015, the missile agency had to scuttle 40 percent of the system’s test. Unforeseen circumstances, like bad weather or test equipment malfunctions, were to blame in some instances, but others arose from high-risk acquisition strategies, that see the development and production of interceptors simultaneously and a test schedule "which leaves little to no margin to address problems that past experience has shown are likely to occur,” the audit stated.

    Meanwhile, technical, funding and testing woes have forced MDA to delay 12 of the 27 capabilities planned for delivery between 2016 and 2020; some of the capabilities have been pushed back a few months or years while others have been delayed indefinitely, according to the GAO report.

    “The constant change to BMDS testing diminishes the traceability of progress and costs. The repeated flight test delays, renaming and combining tests, and removing tests, while necessary to some degree, make it difficult to determine what objectives have been met, when, and with what test,” the audit found.

    MDA “is also challenged to provide the actual costs associated with testing,” the GAO added.

    Since the BMDS is made up of so many platforms, it’s difficult to tell how much the umbrella effort has been or could be delayed. For instance, GAO noted, MDA delivered missile defense capabilities, as planned and other systems years ahead of schedule.

    MDA "added a new capability, expected for December 2017, designed to enable radar on the ground to track various space objects," the report stated. "It also added two capabilities, expected in December 2020, to assess intercepts from space and improve discrimination."

    Still, the pressures on the agency’s buying plan and testing regime “could be compounded going forward as MDA plans to increase the pace and complexity of flight testing,” the report warns,

    “To execute all of its tests through 2018”and meet the deadline for the Obama administration plan for missile defense, dubbed the European Phased Adaptive Approach, “MDA must increase its pace by conducting more tests than it has averaged in the past or make prioritization decisions and delay or remove tests,” according to GAO.
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Thu May 19, 2016 9:26 pm



    Last edited by max steel on Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  Rmf on Sat May 21, 2016 10:36 am

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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Sat May 21, 2016 11:12 am


    Using MKV in space is useless - you will have to have hordes of target discrimination radars from different sites operating simultaneously with a hell-knows-what effectiveness. Because in space you cant reliably determine if this is a light well made decoy or a real warhead. Meanwhile a clouds of passive jamming units are said to be a kilometres long. This is why all major BMD-system always have a pretty tough "low-tier" intercepting units, like Gazelle - cause atmosphere is their ally. And if you read MDA papers on their success - they don't even plan to intercept a tough ICBM with a extensive countermeasures system - cause all main BMD component needed to overcome it are either dead or just a shadow of their former self.

    In reality modern MDA-approach suffers from many factors, and even polygon launches are not that successful. Yeah, TGA-issue, glancing blow issue. Massive launch haven't even been tested.
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Sat May 21, 2016 10:09 pm



    Last edited by max steel on Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:40 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  Rmf on Tue May 24, 2016 7:45 pm

    never the less it increases abm effectiveness....
    i guess thats why russia is working on hypersonic scramjet warhead that works in 50-70 km range... in that area conventional SAM does not work and kinetic interceptors dont work either due to wind and small atmosphere.and lets not forget added benefit of indenpendently targeted warheads who can cover wide areas...

    rail ICBM is good idea, weight of ICBM missiles is 50 tonns and that weight in cargo is best hauled by rail , its nothing for a locomotive and can go around very fast for long time.
    road trucks are not very mobile with combined weights of 70 tonns or more (missile+ truck), on road they can go 50 km/h fast but are detectable ,offroad less but then they are much slower.
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    max steel

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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Tue May 24, 2016 9:05 pm

    How it increases effectiveness ? Do you know why it was cancelled in first place ? Due to budget restrctions yes but A “bandolier” of eight to 20 miniature interceptors that would destroy missiles and decoys in space concept was made but the technical challenge of creating and launching tiny “kill vehicles” that could find and destroy far heavier warheads in space proved insurmountable. Among many other obstacles, existing ground-based rockets would have had to be retrofitted or replaced. The concept never reached the stage where a test flight could be conducted.

    and till date Raytheon said has only completed the first program planning review with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency on the future Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV) concept. It seems after 2009 cancellation MDA revived it again under the name Multiple-Object Kill Vehicle Program and awarded contracts to design concepts for the new kill vehicle in 2015 which LM and Raytheon won and they're supposed to come up with a prototype for testing by 2020.


    Last edited by max steel on Wed May 25, 2016 7:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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    sepheronx

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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  sepheronx on Wed May 25, 2016 2:31 am

    I think it would be smart for US to actually work on what they have first before trying to venture into something that not only will probably not work well, but probably not at all. Currently, their ABM system is abysmal with a spotty chance of shooting down a Scud-B for christ sakes. Scud B. A missile with the most basic trajectory.
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    Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV)

    Post  max steel on Wed May 25, 2016 9:51 pm

    sepheronx wrote:I think it would be smart for US to actually work on what they have first before trying to venture into something that not only will probably not work well, but probably not at all.  Currently, their ABM system is abysmal with a spotty chance of shooting down a Scud-B for christ sakes.  Scud B.  A missile with the most basic trajectory.

    Na I won't say that. Their Integrated missile defense system can easily shoot down Scuds if fired on usa territory. Even saudi managaed to intercept scuds using PAC-3 during yemen conflict , not all of them but then there is a difference between export models and an integrated multilayer missile defense system. pwnd

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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  Austin on Mon May 30, 2016 8:03 am

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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Mon May 30, 2016 9:13 am


    Duh I thought SM-3 II-A missiles were already deployed and they are yet to test it.


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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  JohninMK on Mon May 30, 2016 12:32 pm

    From the article. Does this mean that the new missile will not fit in the Mk-41 launcher? Is this a bigger diameter missile than a S-500 missile?

    The new SM-3IIA missile builds upon a smaller existing operational variant of the missile called the SM-3IB, Raytheon officials said.

    “This is an extended capability of what we have for the SM-3 1B. Because of the larger missile this is a 21-inch air frame. we have a larger area of defended area coverage. we've also brought in some capability advancements into our kinetic warhead so now we have a higher sensitivity - so that is just better seeker,” Amy Cohen, Raytheon SM-3 Director, told Scout Warrior in an interview.


    Look at the quality of the building the photo shows the missile in. Another reason for the very high cost of US military procurement.
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  sepheronx on Mon May 30, 2016 2:13 pm

    The National interest is one of the largest of Washington's propaganda mouthpieces. All I can suggest to the manufacturers is: get you existing product functioning properly first. But then again, they will make plenty of money over this.

    S-500 isn't even out yet and we don't know it's parameters besides rumors. We know THAAD and sM-3 through their tests and results are spotty against basic ballistic missile tech like Scud B and variants. Might be fine against a three stage Scud B type missile but that's about it. American marketing department is a strong one though.
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    Get Ready, Russia and Iran: America Wants to Kill Nuclear Missiles in Space

    Post  max steel on Mon May 30, 2016 2:28 pm

    And some people think THAAD-ER and S-500 have same capabilities. THAAD is a poor man's S-300. Wink


    @John: http://www.russiadefence.net/t5164p25-united-states-national-missile-defense#134441
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:53 pm

    Rethink the SM-3 Block 2B

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has further undermined the rationale for developing a new missile interceptor for installation in Poland and Romania. The Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block 2B is intended primarily to protect U.S. territory against Iranian long-range missiles lobbed over Europe. But the congressional watchdog agency, citing internal Defense Department analyses, casts doubt on the interceptor’s effectiveness in that role.

    According to a GAO report released Feb. 11, SM-3 Block 2B interceptors launched from Romania would have difficulty engaging Iranian ICBMs launched at the United States because of unspecified “flight path” issues. Poland is a better option, but only if the interceptors can be launched early enough to hit targets in their boost phase, an engagement scenario that presents a whole new set of challenges. The best basing option is in the North Sea, but making the SM-3 Block 2B ship compatible could add significantly to its cost, the GAO said.

    The report echoes one of the findings of a U.S. National Research Council missile defense study released last September. That report said the final phase of U.S. President Barack Obama’s so-called Phased Adaptive Approach to European defense, which features SM-3 Block 2B deployment, would do little to protect the eastern United States from Iranian missiles.

    The SM-3 Block 2B would be the newest variant of the Raytheon-built SM-3 Block 1A, now operational aboard U.S. ships as a defense against medium-range missiles. But it would have significantly more capability than two other upgrades in the works, including the Block 2A being co-developed by Raytheon and Japan. Moreover, the Block 2B is the object of a three-way competition among Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon — all three were awarded design contracts worth over $40 million each in 2011 — suggesting it is much more than an incremental upgrade. Among the options being considered, for example, are liquid-fueled propulsion components, a complicating factor for sea basing.

    Congress has doubts about the Phased Adaptive Approach in general and the SM-3 Block 2B in particular: Lawmakers provided only a fraction of what the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) requested for the program in 2012. Mr. Obama’s congressional critics often miss the mark in their eagerness to slam his missile defense strategy. But they’re on firmer ground in saying the Phased Adaptive Approach, at least with respect to U.S. territorial defense, was hastily approved.

    According to the GAO, the MDA did not conduct a formal analysis of alternatives before initiating SM-3 Block 2B development — the reviews that exposed its limitations were conducted only after the fact. While noting that the MDA was not required to conduct the formal analysis due to certain “acquisition flexibilities,” the report said such assessments typically yield wiser procurement decisions.

    The flexibilities accorded the MDA, presumably so it can field capabilities quickly, should themselves be reviewed. Fast-track acquisition programs have their place under certain circumstances, but as often as not they run into problems that lead to self-defeating delays and cost overruns.

    The SM-3 Block 2B development program, meanwhile, has been dialed back due to funding constraints. The doubts raised by the National Research Council and now the GAO, coupled with the anemic budgets the Pentagon is likely to face in the upcoming years — with or without the looming sequester cuts — make it difficult to imagine there being room for the program in the Pentagon’s forthcoming budget request for 2014.

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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:37 pm

    How the U.S. Missile Defense Agency burned $231 million on a program that never should have left the drawing board




    Proponents of the Precision Tracking Space System were not shy about touting its supposed benefits.

    The head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said PTSS represented an “unprecedented capability” to protect America and its allies against a nuclear attack by the likes of North Korea and Iran.

    A key congressional supporter described it as “a necessity for our country.”

    The planned network of nine to 12 satellites, orbiting high above the equator, would detect missile launches and track warheads in flight with great precision, the proponents said.

    It would be able to tell apart real missiles from decoys — an elusive capability known as “discrimination.” It would help guide U.S. rocket-interceptors to destroy incoming warheads. And it would do all this at a fraction of the cost of alternative approaches.

    Based on those promises, the Obama administration and Congress poured more than $230 million into design and engineering work on PTSS starting in 2009. Four years later, the government quietly killed the program before a single satellite was launched.

    The Missile Defense Agency said PTSS fell victim to budget constraints. In fact, the program was spiked after outside experts determined that the entire concept was hopelessly flawed and the claims made by its advocates were erroneous. It was the latest in a string of expensive failures for the missile agency.

    The Los Angeles Times examined hundreds of pages of congressional testimony and other government records and interviewed leading defense scientists and others familiar with PTSS.

    Among the findings:

    a)In their equatorial orbit, the satellites would have been blind to warheads flying over the Arctic — one of the likely paths for missiles launched from Iran or North Korea.

    b)With at most 12 satellites, the system could not have provided continuous tracking of missiles across the Northern Hemisphere, as promised. That would require at least twice as many satellites.

    c)PTSS could not have reliably distinguished warheads from decoys and harmless debris. The satellites’ sensors were not powerful enough.

    d)The Missile Defense Agency’s cost estimate — $10 billion over 20 years — was way off. PTSS would have cost at least $24 billion over that time period, according to an independent assessment done for the Pentagon and Congress.

    e)Even if the system lived up to its billing, it would have been largely redundant. Existing satellites and radars can do much of what PTSS was supposed to do.


    “It’s an example of what can go wrong in defense procurement: Huge amounts of money just pissed away on things that should never have advanced beyond a study,” said David K. Barton, a physicist and radar engineer who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed U.S. missile-defense programs, including PTSS.

    Philip E. Coyle III, former director of operational testing and evaluation for the Pentagon, said the PTSS fiasco could have been avoided if the concept had been properly vetted at the beginning.

    “You could have done it on a napkin,” he said. “All you had to do was put pencil to paper.”

    The satellites use infrared sensors to detect the fiery plume from missile launches. But they cannot follow a warhead once it has separated from its launch rocket and left the Earth’s atmosphere; the heat signature is too faint.

    That is where radars come in. They can track the path of warheads after separation. Their reach, however, is limited by the Earth’s curvature, leaving gaps in radar coverage.

    PTSS was presented as an answer to these challenges, and as a way to safeguard the United States and strengthen “regional defense” — the protection of allies and American forces overseas.

    The system’s advocates included top officials in the Missile Defense Agency and in the office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as lobbyists for Northrop Grumman Corp., which was assisting with the engineering work.

    These proponents said PTSS, from its vantage in space, would be able to track the complete trajectories of enemy missiles from launch to detonation, or “birth to death.”

    Its advanced infrared sensors, they said, would pick up both launches and the extremely faint, long-wave radiation given off by warheads after separation.

    Those same sensors were said to be capable of “discrimination,” even at vast distances — differentiating missiles from decoys, chunks of spent rocket fuel and other detritus.

    With PTSS standing watch, the advocates said, the military would not have to build and install more radars, an expensive and tricky proposition, because some would have to be based on foreign soil.

    In the spring of 2010, Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly, then director of the Missile Defense Agency, went to Capitol Hill to secure support for the program.

    O’Reilly, trained as a physicist, did not automatically plump for new projects. Previously, he had challenged missile-defense initiatives that he considered ill-conceived, angering members of Congress whose states or districts benefited from the spending.

    But O’Reilly voiced no reservations about PTSS. The system would be able to “track hundreds of missiles being launched over their entire flight,” and its “very simple” engineering approach would keep costs down, he told Congress.

    The agency was working with the Air Force, the Naval Research Laboratory and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

    Northrop Grumman and other industry giants — Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Co. — would later be hired to do preliminary engineering work on PTSS. This positioned them to compete for the system’s prime manufacturing contract, worth hundreds and possibly thousands of jobs.

    In remarks to congressional panels in the spring of 2011, O’Reilly said PTSS would help provide “advanced discrimination’’ for the defense of the United States and its allies.

    He also emphasized the system’s affordability, telling a Senate panel on May 25, 2011, that “PTSS will provide three to six times the simultaneous tracking ability at a small fraction of the high operations costs” of new land or sea-based radars.

    Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee, usually reliable supporters of missile defense spending, were unconvinced. They questioned whether the agency could deliver PTSS on schedule and whether the money might be better spent on other programs.

    They recommended against including any funds for PTSS in that year’s defense authorization bill.

    O’Reilly and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) pushed back.

    “I believe that eliminating funding for the PTSS is the wrong course of action,” Ruppersberger told fellow members of a House Armed Services subcommittee on May 5, 2011.

    The congressman did not have to spell out for colleagues the importance of PTSS to his home state of Maryland, where the Johns Hopkins lab was leading the design and engineering work.

    Ruppersberger introduced a new rationale for PTSS, saying the system would improve the nation’s “space situational awareness” and counter China’s ambitions in space.

    “We must support funding for the research and development of technologies that will enable us to protect the security of our country,” Ruppersberger said, “and allow our research labs, universities and private companies to do what they do best — innovate.”

    Northrop Grumman lobbyists joined the drive to secure funding, according to interviews and lobbying disclosures filed with Congress. (A spokeswoman said the company would have no comment for this article.)

    Supporters of PTSS carried the day. Democrats, who controlled the Senate, argued that the program held promise, and a Senate-House conference committee restored about half the $160 million that the Obama administration had requested for the 2012 fiscal year.

    The first satellite was to be launched as early as 2015.

    Missile Defense Agency officials told the panel that the system would do “great things,” Montague recalled. It would be capable of “birth to death tracking” and discrimination.

    The latter capability was especially important, because the nation’s limited arsenal of ground-based interceptors — 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base and 26 at Ft. Greely — would be exhausted quickly if they were mistakenly fired at decoys.

    After hearing the enthusiastic descriptions of PTSS, Montague had a question:

    “Tell us what the orbit configurations are.”

    Informed that the satellites would orbit 932 miles above the equator, the panelists were immediately concerned.

    Earth’s curvature limits the line of sight of satellites as well as radar — so PTSS would have difficulty tracking missiles in northerly latitudes. Iran and North Korea lie 35 degrees to 40 degrees north of the equator.

    Northbound missiles launched from those countries would vanish as they approached the Arctic region, the panelists determined.


    “The threat would disappear over the horizon,” Montague said in an interview. “There was this hole in the doughnut over the Polar region. You wouldn’t see them there.”

    To track missiles continuously throughout the Northern Hemisphere, at least 24 satellites would be needed, with some in orbits well north of the equator.

    The panelists further concluded that, given their equatorial position and the limits of their infrared sensors, the PTSS satellites could not be relied on to discriminate. They would be too far away from their targets to distinguish warheads from decoys.

    And PTSS’ ability to detect launches was superfluous. Existing satellites could do that.

    Panel members also concluded, based on Eisman’s analysis, that the missile agency had drastically understated the cost of the system.

    A memo the agency sent to the Senate Armed Services Committee estimated the cost at $10 billion for the first 20 years. But that did not include the full expense of launching the satellites or operating the system, the independent experts determined.

    They put the actual cost at $24 billion to $28 billion, depending on whether nine or 12 satellites were deployed.

    For a much lower pricetag, about $9 billion over 20 years, a handful of powerful new radars on land could close the gaps in missile tracking and perform discrimination, the panelists found.

    “The committee was absolutely in favor of missile defense,” recalled co-chairman Walter B. Slocombe, a former undersecretary of defense. “But there’s no point in building a system that doesn’t work.”

    By the fall of 2011, the academy experts had completed a classified draft of their report. Before sharing it with congressional leaders and Pentagon brass, Montague briefed O’Reilly and a dozen of his subordinates in the director’s conference room at Missile Defense Agency headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va.

    Montague said he told O’Reilly: “We cannot see the rationale for PTSS. We believe it has a life-cycle cost of $24 billion to $28 billion. … And it will not do anything new or unique.’’

    “Those aren’t our numbers,” an agency engineer countered.

    “That’s right,” Montague said he replied. “We believe it should be canceled.”

    A draft of the panel’s 282-page report, “Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense,” was circulated to policymakers before the next round of congressional budget hearings in the spring of 2012.

    One section dealt with PTSS, and the conclusions were unsparing:

    a) “PTSS appears to be a solution looking for a problem.”
    b) “The rationale for PTSS was never explained to the committee in any coherent way.”
    c) The system would be “very expensive compared to other alternatives.”


    In a letter to congressional leaders, Montague and Slocombe said: “The committee finds no valid justification for pursuing PTSS, and recommends terminating all effort on it.”

    On the crucial issue of discrimination, the statement conceded that PTSS would have had only a “limited” ability to avoid being fooled by decoys.

    As to why the system was designed with relatively few satellites, all in the same orbit, the agency veered from its previous descriptions of PTSS and said it “was tailored for regional defense rather than homeland defense.”

    That is starkly at odds with how senior Pentagon officials had described PTSS to Congress.

    The agency’s own “fact sheet” on PTSS, posted on its website, says the system was intended to “support homeland, regional and theater missile defense.”

    The fact sheet goes on to say that PTSS succumbed to “department-wide fiscal pressure.” It makes no mention of the National Academy panel’s findings.

    Roberts, who left the Defense Department in 2013, said in an interview that PTSS would have been an “important investment to make for the long term.” It might have proved its worth “10, 20, 30 years from now,” he said.

    Asked if there were lessons to be learned, Roberts replied: “Nothing comes to mind.”
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    The Pentagon Will Test-Fire its New Larger SM-3 IIA Interceptor Missile in Space

    Post  max steel on Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:27 pm

    The Pentagon Will Test-Fire its New Larger SM-3 IIA Interceptor Missile in Space

    The Missile Defense Agency and Raytheon plan to fire a new SM-3 missile variant into space to destroy an approaching enemy missile target - as a way to develop a new interceptor better able to detect and destroy ballistic missile threats approaching the earth’s atmosphere from space.

    The new missile, called the SM-3IIA, is slated to fire from a land-based missile defense site planned by the Pentagon for Poland by 2018, a Missile Defense Agency spokesman, told Scout Warrior in a statement.

    SM-3 missiles, first deployed on Navy ships, are exo-atmospheric interceptor missiles designed to destroy short and intermediate range incoming enemy ballistic missiles in above the earth’s atmosphere. With the weapon, threats are destroyed in space during what’s described as the mid-course phase of flight.

    The planned Poland deployment is a key part of what the Pentagon calls the Aegis Ashore program, an effort to leverage the ship-based Aegis Radar for land-fired missile defense technology. As of last year, Aegis Ashore locations are already operational in Romania as part of the Obama administration’s European Phased Adaptive Approach program.

    The concept with the program is to engineer a land-based missile defense envelope, by using already successful and operational Aegis Radar and SM-3 technology, to better protect the European continent from potential ballistic missile threats.

    While not specifically identified for particular countries such as Iran, Russia or other potentially hostile Middle Eastern Countries, the sites are designed to protect Europe and NATO allies from the broadest possible range of missile threats to Europe. Land-based defensive intercept missiles in Romania and Poland, such as the SM-3 variants, could knock-out and destroy approaching missile threats aimed at European targets.

    The SM-3 is a kinetic energy warhead able to travel more than 600 miles per hour; it carries no explosive but instead relies on the sheer force of impact and collision to destroy an enemy target.

    The new SM-3IIA missile builds upon a smaller existing operational variant of the missile called the SM-3IB, Raytheon officials said.  

    “This is an extended capability of what we have for the SM-3 1B.  Because of the larger missile this is a 21-inch air frame. we have a larger area of defended area coverage. we've also brought in some capability advancements into our kinetic warhead so now we have a higher sensitivity - so that is just better seeker,” Amy Cohen, Raytheon SM-3 Director, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

    The SM-3IIA is still finishing up development and is slated for flight test in the second half of this year. The MDA and Raytheon test will assess the kinetic warhead and missile seeker in a space environment, Cohen explained.

    An improved seeker can better see approaching targets from longer distances compared to the SM-3 1B, she added.

    Some of these improvements engineered into the missile are described as “sensitivity increases” which use a larger focal plane array for detection and more computer processing power.

    The SM-3 Block IIA has completed two very successful fly-out tests—with no target missile launched, Missile Defense Agency officials said.  

    “The first intercept flight test is planned for second half of this year. We will be engaging against a medium range ballistic missile - the next flight test we have will get us to the point where we have the trajectory very solid that we are there to support EPAA phase III in Poland,” Cohen added.

    In December of last year, Raytheon received a $543 million SM-3IIA production contract to build the missiles. Some of these missiles will be sent to Poland for the Aegis Ashore site planned for 2018, officials said.

    Production of the missile involves a collaborative effort between the Raytheon in the U.S. and Japan.  Both Japan and Raytheon produce 50-percent of the missile which is then integrated by Raytheon.

    Meanwhile, Raytheon and the MDA are also upgrading the existing SM-3IB missile with improved software such that it can better detect and destroy new threats, Kenyon Hiser, Raytheon’s SM-3 Block IIA program manager.

    Some of the technologies designed for the SM-3IIA are being retrofitted onto the SM-3IB, he added.
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:34 am

    THAAD Extended Range


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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  AlfaT8 on Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:07 pm

    max steel wrote:THAAD Extended Range



    Holy f#ck, they're not even trying to hide it anymore, Scuds, Silo's and Delta-class subs, obvious message to Russia.
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    Re: US ABM Systems

    Post  max steel on Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:37 pm

    Lockheed Martin Harnesses Australian R&D for Next-Gen Radar

    Lockheed Martin, in partnership with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group, is developing enhancements for the next generation of Over-the-Horizon Radar (OTHR) to detect and track small, fast-moving targets at extremely long ranges and at night.

    The US defense giant has invested in the Australian Research and Development (R&D) Programme with a view to selling the capability in the international market place, including the United States. The defense-industry team announced the successful completion of Phase 1 of validation work on what is known as Project Coorong on June 8.

    OTHRs typically operate at lower frequencies during night hours, due to a diminished ionosphere, and this significantly reduces the radar cross section of small targets, such as cruise missiles.

    The work was initiated by a Royal Australian Air Force requirement to detect and track targets such as the next generation of hypersonic cruise missiles.


    The R&D work is now validating years of modeling conducted by DST Group, but Gordon Frazer, acting chief of DST Group's Cyber and Electronic Warfare Division, said the project had to be placed in mothballs in order to concentrate on work to support the upgrade of Australia’s operational Jindalee Operational Radar Network.

    However the project was revived following a strategic partnering alliance between DST Group and Lockheed Martin in 2014.

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    Re: US ABM Systems

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