Dear Members and Friends,
Above and beyond the high profiled activity surrounding missile defense last week, with President Obama’s remarks to the Russians and our Congressional reaction to those comments, North Korea proceeded aggressively in both its build up for its long range ballistic missile test and a display of firing short range anti-ship missiles into the East China Sea.
North Korea is making the necessary movements to prepare to launch their long range missile test. Commercial satellite pictures show extensive preparations of a complex launch and missile staging area at the new Tongch’ang-rilaunch facility on North Korea’s northwest coast. The North Korean long range ballistic missile comes in pieces (stages) that must be assembled (stacked) and checked out diligently. Stacking includes all of the stages and payload which are assembled in the launch tower. When the stacked missile is completely checked and ready and if the weather is favorable, the fuel and the oxidizer will be pumped into the tanks for each stage of the launch. Each stage is done separately for safety purposes and there is limited time when the missile is fully fueled before it must launch.
North Korea’s stated flight path for this missile test is a polar orbit going from south to north taking it over Japan’s southern island chains, Guam, the Philippines and Australia. North Korea has never attempted a polar orbit and has had flights terminating in failures in its previous three long range ballistic missile tests. This will be the first launch from this new facility and is timed to honor the centennial of the April 15th birth of North Korea’s national founder Kim II-sung.
The country of Japan as a precaution proceeded to give the order to Defense Minster, Naoki Tanaka to shoot down any part of the upcoming North Korea long range missile that could fall on its territory. Japan (the United States biggest missile defense partner) is deploying their Aegis Ballistic Missile System and SM3 Block 1A interceptors on their four Kongo Class Ships, as well as their United States Patriot Systems to provide terminal defense to the southern island chains of Okinawa.
The Philippines which is directly south of North Korea, has their Defense Secretary, Voltaire Gazmin requesting assistance from the United States to track the upcoming North Korean long range missile test for fear that the missile and rocket parts may land amongst the population of the Philippines. In response, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, the United States Pacific Commander (USPACOM) responsible for the Pacific Asia region for the United States, has given order to sail the Sea Based X Band Radar (SBX) from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to the vicinity of this North Korean test to track and provide warning to our allies in the region. In addition, the SBX will be providing fire control data through the 94th AAMDC to the United States operating BMD Aegis Ships from the 7th Fleet and to our Ground Based Missile Defense Systems in Alaska and California that have capabilities to shoot down this upcoming North Korean Ballistic Missile Test and/or stages falling from it that would land on population centers in Japan, the Philippines, Australia and United States territory Guam. The U.S. Aegis BMD ships have had a successful history of shooting down ballistic missiles as well as an incoming satellite and launching from a remote sensor, the SBX.
The SBX uses small band-width radar waves to discriminate all the debris, chaff and re-entry vehicle or warhead of a moving threat cloud from a missile launch to precisely locate targets and their exact movement for tracking and for interceptors. Whether they are SM3 interceptors from Aegis BMD Ships or ground based interceptors from California or Alaska. In addition, United States has Patriot Batteries from the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade located in Korea and Japan that would be available to defend and protect if deemed necessary.
If this North Korean long range missile successfully gets into orbit, North Korea will prove they have most of the technology necessary to produce an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The only missing technology remaining is developing a re-entry vehicle that can survive re-entry. This would include a weapon small enough to fit inside the re-entry vehicle. North Korea is working on developing and/or buying technologies to miniaturize its nuclear weapons to fit into this missile re-entry vehicle.
Missile Defense systems make this particular region of the world more secure and stable of which recent diplomacy, international agreements, sanctions and threats have failed to deter or stop the unilateral actions of a nuclear North Korea in its demonstration of developing long range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
We as a nation must provide more missile defense capabilities to our men and women that fight this fight.
Missile defense is an absolute necessity for our nation and allies.