Posts Tagged ‘Missile Defense’

Airborne Laser offers new era for ballistic missile defense

February 19, 2009

The ultimate multimedia experience:2009 Lasers in the Military: Defense Department R&D Projects, Current Weapons, Guidance Applications, Bombs and Missiles, High-Energy Lasers (CD-ROM)

Unlike other missile defense systems, which require one or more interceptors to destroy a single ballistic missile, an ABL can destroy up to 20 missiles before its chemical supply is depleted and must be refilled. Thus, a handful of ABL planes potentially could provide around-the-clock protection against fairly sizable missile attacks emanating from a country such as North Korea. [ FULL STORY ]

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NCADE offers effective BMD at bargain-basement cost

February 16, 2009

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Loren Thompson reports on the Network Centric Airborne Defense Element, a low-cost concept for intercepting short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in boost phase using a modified version of the main air-to-air missile carried on most U.S. fighter aircraft today. [ FULL STORY ]

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AirBorne Laser ABL Test Success

December 8, 2008
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The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully operated the Airborne Laser’s (ABL) complete weapon system for the first time in late November by projecting a beam from the Northrop Grumman Corporation-built  high-energy laser through the precision beam steering system.

 

During the ground test conducted by MDA and a Boeing-led industry team, a beam from the megawatt-class laser traveled the length of the aircraft at 670 million miles per hour, racing from the aft section that houses the laser, through the beam control / fire control (BC/FC) system, and out through the nose-mounted turret for the first time.

“The ground test proves that the ABL integrated weapon system works as planned,” said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for the Northrop Grumman Space Technology sector. “This impressive achievement validates the safe operation of the high-energy laser in conjunction with all other components of the revolutionary directed energy ABL aircraft.”

For the ground test, crews operating from onboard the aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., completed a planned engagement sequence by firing the high-energy laser through the entire system. The beam then exited the aircraft and was captured by the Range Simulator Diagnostic System, which provides simulated targets as well as a “dump” and diagnostics for the laser beam.

Northrop Grumman, under contract to The Boeing Company, the ABL prime contractor, designed and built the high-energy Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser, the most powerful laser ever developed for an airborne environment.

The BC/FC system, provided by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), not only ensures that the laser is accurately aligned and pointed at the target, but also performs fire control engagement sequencing, adjusts the beam for atmospheric compensation, and helps control jitter.

The ABL aircraft consists of a modified Boeing 747-400F whose back half holds the high-energy laser. Before being installed, the high-energy laser completed rigorous ground testing in a laboratory at Edwards AFB. The front half of the aircraft contains the battle management system, provided by Boeing, and the beam control/fire control system.

CG – Cruisers

December 3, 2008
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Cruiser: Large combat vessel with multiple target response capability.

 
Features
Modern U.S. Navy guided missile cruisers perform primarily in a Battle Force role. These ships are multi-mission [Air Warfare (AW), Undersea Warfare (USW), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) and Surface Warfare (SUW)] surface combatants capable of supporting carrier battle groups, amphibious forces, or of operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups. Cruisers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles giving them additional long range Strike Warfare (STRW) capability. Some Aegis Cruisers have been outfitted with a Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capability.
 
Background
Technological advances in the Standard Missile coupled with the Aegis combat system in the Ticonderoga class Cruisers have increased the AAW capability of surface combatants to pinpoint accuracy from wave-top to zenith. The addition of Tomahawk in the CG-47 has vastly complicated unit target planning for any potential enemy and returned an offensive strike role to the surface forces that seemed to have been lost to air power at Pearl Harbor.

The lead ship of the class, USS Ticonderoga (CG 47) through CG-51 have been decommissioned.

 
Point Of Contact
Corporate Communications Office
Naval Sea Systems Command (SEA 00D)
Washington, DC 20376
 
General Characteristics, Ticonderoga Class
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding: CG 47-50, CG 52-57, 59, 62, 65-66, 68-69, 71-73
Bath Iron Works: CG 51, 58, 60-61, 63-64, 67, 70.
Date Deployed: 22 January 1983 (USS Ticonderoga)
Unit Cost: About $1 billion each.
Propulsion: 4 General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines; 2 shafts, 80,000 shaft horsepower total.
Length: 567 feet.
Beam: 55 feet.
Displacement: 9,600 tons (9,754.06 metric tons) full load.
Speed: 30 plus knots.
Crew: 24 Officers, 340 Enlisted.
Armament: MK41 vertical launching system Standard Missile (MR); Vertical Launch ASROC (VLA) Missile; Tomahawk Cruise Missile; Six MK-46 torpedoes (from two triple mounts); Two MK 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight guns; Two Phalanx close-in-weapons systems.
Aircraft: Two SH-60 Seahawk (LAMPS III).
Ships:
USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), San Diego, CA
USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), San Diego, CA
USS Antietam (CG 54), San Diego, CA
USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), Norfolk, VA
USS San Jacinto (CG 56), Norfolk, VA
USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), San Diego, CA
USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), Mayport, FL
USS Princeton (CG 59), San Diego, CA
USS Normandy (CG 60), Norfolk, VA
USS Monterey (CG 61), Norfolk, VA
USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), San Diego, California
USS Cowpens (CG 63), Yokosuka, Japan
USS Gettysburg (CG 64), Mayport, FL
USS Chosin (CG 65), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Hue City (CG 66), Mayport, FL
USS Shiloh (CG 67), Yokosuka, Japan
USS Anzio (CG 68), Norfolk, VA
USS Vicksburg (CG 69), Mayport, FL
USS Lake Erie (CG 70), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Cape St. George (CG 71), San Diego, Calif.
USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), Norfolk, VA
USS Port Royal (CG 73), Pearl Harbor, HI

Boeing Airborne Laser Team Fires High-Energy Laser Through Beam Control System

December 2, 2008
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Boeing reports that it, together with industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, last week fired a high-energy laser through the Airborne Laser’s (ABL) beam control/fire control system, completing the first ground test of the entire weapon system integrated aboard the aircraft.

During the test at Edwards Air Force Base, the laser beam traveled through the beam control/fire control system before exiting the aircraft through the nose-mounted turret. The beam control/fire control system steered and focused the beam onto a simulated ballistic-missile target.

“This test is significant because it demonstrated that the Airborne Laser missile defense program has successfully integrated the entire weapon system aboard the ABL aircraft,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “With the achievement of the first firing of the laser aboard the aircraft in September, the team has now completed the two major milestones it hoped to accomplish in 2008, keeping ABL on track to conduct the missile shootdown demonstration planned for next year.”

Michael Rinn, Boeing vice president and ABL program director, said the next step for the program is a series of longer-duration laser firings through the beam control/fire control system.

“Once we complete those tests, we will begin demonstrating the entire weapon system in flight,” Rinn said. “The team is meeting its commitment to deliver this transformational directed-energy weapon system in the near term.”

The program has logged many accomplishments over the past several years. In 2005, the high-energy laser demonstrated lethal levels of duration and power in the System Integration Laboratory at Edwards. In 2007, ABL completed numerous flight tests that demonstrated its ability to track an airborne target, measure and compensate for atmospheric conditions, and deliver a surrogate high-energy laser’s simulated lethal beam on the target. In September 2008, the team achieved “first light” by firing the high-energy laser into a calorimeter aboard the aircraft.

Boeing is the prime contractor for ABL, which will provide speed-of-light capability to destroy all classes of ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight.

The ABL aircraft is a modified Boeing 747-400F whose back half holds the high-energy laser, designed and built by Northrop Grumman. The front section of the aircraft contains the beam control/fire control system, developed by Lockheed Martin, and the battle management system, provided by Boeing.

radar soon to be operational in Israel

November 24, 2008

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The U.S. radar recently deployed to Israel to help it defend against a potential missile attack from Iran is in the midst of final tests and will soon be operational, according to a spokesman for the U.S. European Command mission.

The radar was delivered to Israel in September and is reported to be capable of tracking a baseball-size object from a distance of 2,900 miles. It is intended to help Israel by enabling it to more rapidly activate its missile defense system in the event of an attack.

Army Maj. Bryan Woods, a spokesman for the U.S. military team in Israel, said the radar should be operational by mid-December.

Read the full Stars & Stripes article

Missile Defense Program Endangered

November 24, 2008

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The Missile Defense Agency’s budget is due for a “severe scrubbing” by the next Congress, House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee Chairwoman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) promised last week.

Read the full report at Inside Defense (paid subscription required)

Military Space Portfolio Safe Under Obama Administration?

November 21, 2008

Space programs should be safe from possible defense spending cuts under an Obama administration, though some high-profile programs that have suffered numerous delays with immature technology could be in jeopardy, military analysts told Inside the Air Force. (paid subscription required)

Obama and Missile Defense

November 13, 2008
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U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden was wrong when he said, “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.” Well, it was more like six hours, notes Daniel Goure in his UPI editorial.

The day after the election, as other world leaders were sending the U.S. president-elect congratulatory messages, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev apparently thought that a hostile theme was more appropriate. In his first state of the union address, Medvedev threatened to deploy short-range missiles against Poland if a missile defense system, the so-called Third Site, were deployed in that Eastern European country. The Russian president went on to list other hostile steps his country might take, including electronically jamming the missile defense.

Read Goure’s full editorial at UPI

Russian navy protects Syria’s missiles

October 17, 2008
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Until Russia can revitalize its naval forces to a much larger degree, its deployments to the Mediterranean contribute more to symbolic and diplomatic activity than being a viable military counterweight to NATO in the region. Yet the Black Sea Fleet in the Med is a significant show of force and a diplomatic irritant and a potential threat to shipping in the Suez Canal and to America’s ally Israel.

The increased Russian naval presence in the region means that the Kremlin is seeking to cultivate Syria as a close regional ally, and is looking to secure additional bases for the Black Sea Fleet besides its current base in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

In addition, Russia would also be able to deploy electronic intelligence-gathering ships that could then improve its monitoring capabilities against NATO forces and Syria’s ability to monitor NATO and Israeli transmissions, expanding the previous naval intelligence engagement during the Balkan wars.

Finally, Russian naval forces could deter or disrupt Israeli naval or air assets deployed in wartime against Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Read the full UPI article