Archive for the 'missile defense' Tag
(aka Sejil-2) Iran’s new MRBM and the latest complication in the brewing nuclear arms race in the Middle East:
WASHINGTON (AP) – The missile test-fired by Iran is the longest-range solid-propellant missile it has launched yet, a U.S. government official said sejil-2Wednesday, raising concerns about whether the sophistication of Tehran’s missile program is increasing. The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss technical details of Iran’s missile program, said Tehran has demonstrated shorter-range solid-propellant missiles in the past. Solid-propellant rockets are a concern because they can be fueled in advance and moved or hidden in silos, the official said. Liquid-propellant rockets have to be fueled and fired quickly, which makes preparations for launches easier to monitor and would allow a preemptive strike if necessary.
What’s next? Undoubtedly this only raises Israel’s concern over Iran’s direction and intent where nuclear weapons are concerned and if Ahmadinejad successfully stands for re-election (he faces three other candidates and the launch comes a mere two days after the election cycle began), it is safe to say we will only see more of the same from Tehran. Israel? Given the action versus Iraq and the Osiraq nuclear reactor, how long before Israel decides that the only recourse is a pre-emptive strike? As far as US actions, if there needed to be an underscore to the re-direction that US missile-defense research, development and deployment is taking towards greater regional and theater capabilities, this certainly would seem to fill the bill.
Ballistic missile capabilities continue to increase with the proliferation of missile technology. Over 20 countries have ballistic missile systems and it is likely that missiles will be a threat in future conflicts involving U.S. forces. Ballistic missiles have been used in several conflicts over the last 20 years, including the Iran-Iraq war, the Afghan civil war, the war in Yemen, the 1991 and 2003 Persian Gulf conflicts, and the Russian military action in Chechnya.
In order to better understand ballistic missile capabilities, this document addresses ballistic missile basics, characteristics, proliferation, and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from select ballistic missile capable countries.
On Thursday, 30 April 2009, the Navy’s newest Center of Excellence (COE), the Navy Air and Missile Defense Center, was opened for business onboard the Naval Weapons Development Center, Dahlgren Virginia. RADM Brad Hicks, who is also the Aegis BMD program director, will serve as the Center’s first commander until a permanent flag is assigned later this year. The ceremony’s keynote speaker, ADM Robert “Rat” Willard, Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet spared no words in underscoring the importance of this particular COE in the context of recent events to include the recent North Korean launch.
The challenge ahead of the center will be the role it plays in Navy’s quest to equally field a national missile defense to shield the homeland, a regional defense for friends and allies and theater systems for protection of forward deployed forces while still accounting for the multi-mission nature of platforms like the Aegis-equipped cruisers and destroyers currently deployed. And the center’s efforts won’t end there, for the threat includes ever-increasingly proliferated cruise missiles and a host of other airborne threats. In that context the NAMDC will serve to integrate technical capabilities, warfighter concepts and C3 solutions to cover the entire kill chain, from the “high-end” of afloat BMD to the wave-tops.
The Center’s focus also won’t be Aegis- or even Navy-only, though that will constitute a good portion of its effort. As one of six envisioned Warfare Centers of Excellence that also include the Naval Strike Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nev., and the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command in San Diego, Calif, NAMDC as the lead organization for Navy and Joint AMD will also partner and work closely with organizations like Joint Force Command’s Joint Warfighting Center down the road in Suffolk, VA. I should also note that with close proximity to Pax River and Norfolk/Oceana, the center should also have ready access to work with the VAW and VFA communities, especially important when one looks at the capabilities currently available (e.g. Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), and the AESA in the newer Super Hornets) and planned (e.g., E-2D Advanced Hawkeye) for those communities.
This was a much needed step in beginning to restore balance to a force that has , frankly, become very power projection-centric. Along with other warfare areas, such as blue-water ASW, it seemed in the post-Cold War environment that integrated air and missile defense was increasingly pushed to the back even while threats like those posed by new generations of low-observable, fast cruise missiles were widely proliferated. However, the emerging area denial capabilities of countries like China and Iran, not to mention the requirements levied by the Maritime Strategy (and, one presumes, the NOC when it ever is released) clearly demand the establishment of an organization to oversee the disparate parts of the air defense picture. I would go further to say that it is one which should have taken place a couple of decades ago, around the time of the introduction of Aegis to the fleet with all the attendant integration, coordination and synchronization issues that presented with other ship- and airborne platforms, sensors and networks.
The NAMDC will have an initial staff of approximately 25 personnel, and grow over the next three years to a fully operational staff of about 75 members, equally divided between military personnel, government civilian employees and supporting contractors. Considering the magnitude of the challenge ahead, I’d say they will all be fully engaged, especially if what ADM Willard said, that the Center is “the most important thing to the future of this capability in the Navy” comes to pass.
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