Latest updates[?]: The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a $7.7 million contract option modification for the Defense Support Program (DSP) on-orbit satellite and anomaly resolution support. The DSP operates the reconnaissance satellites which form the principal component of the Satellite Early Wing System currently used by the US. The Northrop Grumman-built DSP satellites use infrared detectors that sense the heat from missile plumes against the earth background. The orbiting sentries detect, characterize as well a report ballistic missile launches and see nuclear detonations. Back in September 2018 Northrop Grumman was awarded a $19.2 million modification to the same contract. Work will be completed by September 30, 2019.
Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites have been monitoring the skies as America’s early-warning system for ballistic missile launches since their first launch in 1970. The current Satellite Early Warning System (SEWS) consists of 5 DSP satellites; 3 provide frontline operational service, with 2 available as backups should problems emerge with the primary satellites.
The program’s lifetime has seen the launch of 23 DSP satellites, and improvements to DSP via 5 upgrade sets have allowed those satellites to exceed their design lifespan. The USAF’s fact sheet lists the satellites’ unit cost at $400 million, though they do not mention what fiscal year baseline that figure is linked to. While the DSP satellites successfully detected Iraqi SCUD launches during Operation Desert Storm, testimony before Congress has noted that there are some classes of missiles the DSP constellation has trouble with. The USAF’s way over-budget SBIRS program was created to address that, but the DSP constellation will be up for a long time. This entry will be updated to cover new developments, contracts, and more.
Latest updates[?]: South Korean missile developers may bring their M-SAM air defense missile system for testing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), after discussions between both countries were reported in South Korean press. The M-SAM is being developed as part of the Korea Air Missile Defense (KAMD) program—Seoul's terminal-phase, lower-tier missile defense system that would shoot down incoming missiles from North Korea—and forms part of the wider “Kill Chain” pre-emptive system to deter the North before its missile attacks. For lower-altitude interceptions, US-built Patriot missiles and Korean-made medium-range surface-to-air missiles (M-SAM) will be used, while South Korea is also developing long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM) for medium and high altitude interception. If selected the UAE, with its underpopulated desert areas and own expertise in testing Patriot missiles, could boost potential exports.
South Korea continues to modernize its forces, and take steps toward full sovereign control of its defenses. PAC-2 GEM+ missiles were ordered in 2008 to be operational in 2010 and fully in place by 2012. South Korea doesn’t appear to be aiming as high as Japan, with its license-produced Patriot PAC-3s and long-range naval SM-3 systems, but medium range SM-2 Block IIIA/B missiles fired from ROKN KDX-III destroyers do offer another limited option for the ROK’s coastal cities.
As countries like the UAE have been quick to recognize, turning a series of point defenses into a cohesive system that can respond in time requires long-range detection, and strong regional command-and-control systems. Now, a key contract has been signed, as South Korea prepares to field its Air and Missile Defense Cell (AMD-Cell) radars and command system.
Latest updates[?]: Northrop Grumman has received a $332 million modification to an existing contract for work at the Joint National Center Research and Development for the Missile Defense Agency and the Department of Defense. Under the terms of the agreement, work to be carried out includes the integration of Ballistic Missile Defense System (BDMS) and testing programs for the program, as well as the provision of logistical services, wargame and readiness exercises, and the development of doctrine, as well as information technology support for the Chief Information Officer for the BDMS. The additional DoD funding will increase the funding maximum from $3.85 billion to $4.18 billion, and may extend task orders until May 2018.
Monitors went black
C2BMC puts the “system” in the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System. At least that’s how the US Missile Defense Agency describes the Command and Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) element. Basically, C2BMC synchronizes individual missile defense systems, sensors, and operators, which is essential to the layered missile defense approach the agency is working to develop. Since no one system is foolproof, layered system is designed to destroy enemy ballistic missiles by tracking and engaging them in all phases of flight, from boost, mid-course, and terminal phases of ballistic missiles. Tying all that together is a real challenge, since these systems weren’t all designed from the outset to operate together.
Latest updates[?]: Those who suffered property damage as a result of last October's rogue JLENS blimp rampage will have to sue in order to get any compensation. A US Army investigation decided that “no government employees, agencies or entities were responsible or negligent” in the incident and thus would not be paying out. Disgruntled residents of Maryland and Pennsylvania will instead have to either sue the Army in federal court or pursue a state lawsuit against Raytheon. The service received 35 property damage claims after the surveillance balloon broke free of its moorings while dragging its mooring line across the two states before deflating enough to be shot down by State Troopers.
Experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrated that even conventional cruise missiles with limited reach could have disruptive tactical effects, in the hands of a determined enemy. Meanwhile, the proliferation of cruise missiles and associated components, combined with a falling technology curve for biological, chemical, or even nuclear agents, is creating longer-term hazards on a whole new scale. Intelligence agencies and analysts believe that the threat of U.S. cities coming under cruise missile attack from ships off the coast is real, and evolving.
Aerial sensors are the best defense against low-flying cruise missiles, because they offer far better detection and tracking range than ground-based systems. The bad news is that keeping planes in the air all the time is very expensive, and so are the aircraft themselves. As cruise missile defense becomes a more prominent political issue, the primary challenge becomes the development of a reliable, affordable, long-flying, look-down platform. One that can detect, track and identify incoming missiles, then support over-the-horizon engagements in a timely manner. The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS) certainly looked like that system, but the Pentagon has decided to end it.
Lockheed Martin Maritime Sensors and Systems won a $124 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification to upgrade Japan’s Kongo-Class AEGIS destroyer JS Kongo [DDG-173] to give it AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense Block 2004 capability. Japan’s Kongo-Class destroyers are based on the USA’s Flight II DDG 51 Arleigh Burke Class, but feature many modifications both internally and externally. The Kirishima itself was posted to the Indian Ocean as part of Japan’s contribution to the war on terror, acting as flagship for the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.
It’s becoming clear that Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, have stepped up their defense spending in recent years. Uncertainty creates perceptions of risk, and perceptions of risk lead to responses aimed at reducing that risk. That’s why arms spending is an incomplete but very concrete way of tracking a state’s real assessment of threats and priorities. Iraq is no longer a missile/WMD threat, but Iran’s ballistic missiles are another matter. They may be based on North Korean designs that lack accuracy, but the prospect of nuclear payloads is producing reactions.
Gulf states recognize that even a lucky conventional missile could wreak havoc if it hit key oil-related infrastructure, or damaged the larger and more nebulous target of business confidence. The spread of nuclear weapons would change the calculus completely. A 2007 US National Intelligence Assessment [redacted NIE summary, PDF] believed that Iran’s nuclear program had stopped, but others, including the United Nations and Israel, were more skeptical. By 2010, that skepticism had spread to US intelligence, which repudiated an assessment that seems set to join the infamous 1962 NIE of no Soviet missiles in Cuba .
The Gulf states’ response to these developments covers a range of equipment, but anti-ballistic missile capabilities appear to be rising to the top of the priority list.
This is a pivotal year for the Polish defense market. Part 1 of this series offers an overview of Poland’s $44 billion military modernization program. This 2nd and final part covers key near-term purchases, as Poland becomes a key battleground for US and European industries.
Russia’s troubling regional ambitions have added urgency to Polish plans for a stronger military and more capable indigenous defense capabilities. Against that backdrop, the nationality of the winners of key missile defense and rotor-wing contracts, to be decided in the next 12 months, will set the tone for Polish defense relations over the remainder of its 10-year modernization program.
This is a pivotal year for the Polish defense market. Russia’s actions in Ukraine have underscored the urgency of Poland’s $44 billion military modernization program, and accelerated planned purchases. Critical defense procurement decisions will be made in 2014, testing the government’s ability to successfully manage big international tenders that pit Americans against Europeans. This year will also see the implementation of the country’s highly ambitious plans to consolidate most of its domestic industrial base under one roof, with significant implications for foreign suppliers seeking industrial arrangements with local partners.
Naturally, foreign companies are eager to secure a share in Europe’s most promising defense market. To compete effectively, defense primes and their subcontractors need to understand the financial, industrial, and political landscape they face in Poland.
Keeping them running is a job for ARCTEC, who has also handled contracts related to the USA’s more advanced BMEWS and PAVE PAWS early warning radars, one of which is located at Clear Air Force Station, AK. This article covers ARS maintenance contract orders from the FA5000-04-C-0011 contract’s beginning in 2004 to its final period in 2014.
Arms control treaties and other deactivations have left the USA with over 1,400 ballistic missile rocket motors in storage. The USAF’s Rocket Systems Launch Program looks at ways to reuse them for missile defense testing or spacecraft launches, examines the use of ballistic missile technology for a Conventional Strike Missile (CSM), and studies related technologies. RSLP has supported various technology development efforts for guidance and navigation systems; advanced reentry physics; avionics; Missile Technology Demonstration (MTD); Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and Ballistic Missile Range Safety Technology (BMRST).
In December 2012, US Space & Missile Command’s Space Development and Test Wing issued 3 indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price RSLP contracts, with up to $900 million in task orders to be competed among the winners: