Home on the Range

November 17, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

President Obama’s new missile defense plan to protect our troops and European as well as Middle Eastern allies from the significant and growing threat of short and medium range ballistic missiles from Iran and other potential threatening states resides and is dependent on the successful development, demonstration and deployment of remote forward sensors and the Aegis SM3 Block 1A and 1B defensive missiles on ships at sea and ashore in Europe and the Middle East by 2015. The President’s missile defense plan further promises a development and deployment of upgrading these same systems with SM3 Block 2A and 2B defensive missiles that would protect Europe and the United States from intermediate and long range ballistic missiles respectively by 2018 and 2020.

The baseline technologies that have to be developed with urgency in order for success are twofold: 1) Integration, development, testing and deployment of forward based remote sensors such as the UAVs/raptors, the STSS satellites and the X band forward based radars, which can allow earlier decisions to shoot. 2) Development, testing and deployment of a more capable SM3 missile with a longer range that can discriminate and target with more confidence. In the case of the SM3 which is limited to a 21 inch diameter by approximately 18 feet solid fuel mixture due to the restraints and existing systems on U.S. Navy Aegis ships, there is only so much physical capability in terms of range and speed even with a yet to be developed lighter kill vehicle. As to the remote sensing, switching the Aegis system to be able to allow X band coordination for the missiles and to forward base X band radars in a countries such as Turkey and the Balkan States is a necessity to increase the range and discrimination of the system to adequately protect regions of Europe and the Middle East. Proving, developing, deploying and expanding both the STSS and the raptors in which two or more of each system are needed to effectively triangulate a launch and correlating that information back to the Aegis systems is also a necessity for a early decision to shoot the Aegis system and thus increase the effectiveness and defended regions. These are challenging technologies that have short time frames to test, develop and deploy. Considering the development of the SM3 Block 1B which needs three successful intercept tests before a deployment decision is made and the system has to prove out new design of divert and altitude rocket engines on the kill vehicle as well as adding a additional infrared sensor . The first of three scheduled tests of the SM3 Block B is currently scheduled for 2011.

It is of great importance and urgency for success in the President’s missile defense plan to enable and construct a test bed for the Aegis Ashore and the testing of the SM3 Block 1B to be located at the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The PMRF range has been the sole test range for the successful SM3 Block 1A missile development using the expanse of the Pacific Ocean for its realistic testing. To this end, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations, Senator Daniel Inouye, has submitted an amendment requested 2009 unspent tax dollars of the amount of 68.5 million dollars allocated for the non -existent third missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic to be used for the development and construction of the Aegis Ashore system at PMRF in Kauai, Hawaii. The test bed would offer testing of the SM3 development as well as providing a permanent missile defense system that would protect Hawaii and its islands from ballistic missiles. In opposition to this amendment, Senator John McCain the co-chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has put forward an amendment to delay this decision for another year. Discussions on military construction within Congress are in place this week.

We at MDAA fully support Senator Inouye’s amendment as it gives President Obama’s new missile defense plan the best chance of success and more importantly prove a capability to defend our troops and allies against the proliferation of short and medium range missiles that would threaten the European and Middle Eastern regions by 2015.

We would encourage your active support for Senator Inouye’s amendment.

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