Behind-the-Back Defense

November 22, 2011

Dear Members and Friends,


Last week, in the hot sands of White Sands, New Mexico, a new lightweight launcher and fire control process successfully launched a terminal phase missile defense interceptor called the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE).  The MSE reversed its course in flight, to go behind the launcher instead of in front of it, in seeking its target. This demonstration served to help prove a 360-degree battle space defense capability to defend a small city, airport, port, or other deemed military valued asset from ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, which could threaten from any direction.


Today, our deployed U.S. and Allied terminal missile defense systems have fixed areas of defense in front of their launchers and radars, which they defend from known threats of ballistic missile launch locations of North Korea and Iran.


This new system, developed in an international partnership with Germany, Italy, and the United States, is called the Medium Extended Area Defense System (MEADS).  MEADS has two more years of paid development and testing to complete before the three participating countries will make a decision on whether to move forward with the system and its evolving next generation technologies in terminal missile defense.

Click here for video footage from the successful MEADS flight test.

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