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28 février 2015 6 28 /02 /février /2015 16:20
photo MDA

photo MDA


Feb 27, 2015 Spacewar.com  (XNA)


Washington DC - The U.S. military launched three suborbital rockets near-simultaneously Tuesday as part of a ballistic missile defense (BMD) test involving the Aegis weapon system.


The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said in a statement that the rockets were acquired and tracked by sailors aboard two Aegis BMD destroyers while a third destroyer participated in associated operations.


Using this data, the Aegis BMD ships then conducted simulated guided missile engagements with the Distributed Weighted Engagement Scheme (DWES) capability enabled to determine which ship is the preferred shooter, thereby reducing duplication of BMD engagements and missile expenditures while ensuring BMD threat coverage.


Since no guided missiles were launched, the test did not include an attempted intercept, and the MDA noted that the test was "successfully completed."


"This was the first flight test to assess the ability of the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system to simulate engagements of a raid consisting of three short-range, separating ballistic missile targets," the statement said. "This was also the first time Aegis BMD 4.0 ships used the DWES capability with live targets."


The rockets were launched between 2:30 a.m. and 2:31 a.m. EDT ( 0730 GMT and 0731 GMT) from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in the state of Virginia, the U.S. space agency said.


Aegis BMD, managed by the MDA and the U.S. Navy, is the naval component of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system.

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10 septembre 2014 3 10 /09 /septembre /2014 11:30
MDA and Israel test upgraded Arrow 2 interceptor missile system

The Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile interceptor lifts off from the Point Mugu Sea Range, California, US. Photo US Navy.


10 September 2014 army-technology.com


The US Missile Defence Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization's directorate of defence research and development conducted a joint test of an upgraded Arrow 2 ballistic missile interception system over the Mediterranean Sea.


US Defense Department spokesman army colonel Steven Warren said: "An Arrow-2 missile was launched and performed its flight sequence as planned.


"The results are being analysed by programme engineers.


"The test results have no effect on the Israeli operational system capability to cope with the existing threats in the region."


A Sparrow missile was fired from the Mediterranean Sea at Israel during the test, which forms part of Israel's effort to develop a more advanced block of air defences against continually improving projectile threats used by its enemies.


A senior Israeli defence ministry official said: "The systems detected and tracked the missile, and at the correct time, fired an Arrow 2 interceptor.


"All of the stages were carried out. We are now going over visual intelligence, broadcast from the interceptor and the target missile, to determine what occurred in the end stage."


The improved version of the joint US-Israel Arrow Weapon System is intended to counter future threats and provide the system with an interceptor engagement capability.


Manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, the Arrow 2 serves as the second layer of Israel's multi-layered missile defence system and is designed to block incoming long-range enemy missiles.


In 2000, the system entered operational service with the Israeli Defence Forces and has occasionally been tested either in Israel or the US.

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1 juillet 2014 2 01 /07 /juillet /2014 11:20
GMD System Succeeds in Intercept, Fails to Satisfy Staunch Critics


June 27, 2014 by Abel Romero - missiledefensereview.org


This Sunday the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) along with U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense, U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Navy conducted its first successful test of the Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system since 2008. The test is a major milestone in proving that the GMD is a viable option for the protection of the U.S. homeland from a limited ballistic missiles attack. Yet despite the success of the test, stubborn critics of the system refuse to acknowledge the advances made and the nature of the threat. The national missile defense system is a complicated engineering feat that demands regular testing. While intercept failures may be discouraging, it is important to note that the data collected presents an opportunity to correct the issues that caused those failures. While some would call the threat of a ballistic missile attack by North Korea “exaggerated”, there is currently no reliable way to measure just how advanced that threat is. Failing to plan for the worst could prove disastrous.


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24 juin 2014 2 24 /06 /juin /2014 12:20
Sea-Based X-Band Radar platform (SBX-1)

Sea-Based X-Band Radar platform (SBX-1)


Jun 23, 2014 ASDNews Source : Missile Defense Agency


The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense, U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Navy completed an integrated exercise of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). During the test today, a long-range ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.


The test, designated Flight Test Ground-Based Interceptor-06b (FTG-06b), will provide the data necessary to assess the performance of numerous BMDS elements for homeland defense.


Read more

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6 avril 2014 7 06 /04 /avril /2014 20:50
Navy's European Missile Sites Move Forward


Apr. 6, 2014 By DAVID LARTER – Defense News


The military could speed up deployment of a land-based missile defense shield in Europe to hem in a resurgent Russia, the Navy 3-star in charge of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said in early April.


Vice Adm. James Syring said it was possible to speed up the deployment of the second Aegis Ashore installation, planned for Poland in 2018, but such a move would require some help from Congress.


“We’d need some additional funds in the [fiscal year 2015] budget, and we’d need to move up the development of the [Standard Missile-3 Block ]IIA,” Syring said, referring to the faster, larger interceptor missile being developed for the Aegis Ashore system being built in Poland. The first site is being stood up in Romania and is slated to go live in 2015.


Raytheon is developing the SM3-IIA. It’s development is on track for a 2018 deployment, company spokesperson Heather Uberuaga said, but she declined to speculate on whether speeding up the development was possible.


Elaine Bunn, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, said the missile shields in the Mediterranean and the planned deployment to Romania and Poland were designed to counter threats from Iran, not Russia.


Russia is banned from owning or developing medium- and intermediate-range missiles by a Reagan-era treaty. But U.S. intelligence has indicated that Russia may be violating the treaty and testing a new ground-launched cruise missile, according to a January report in the New York Times.


Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the treaty obsolete in 2007, though it has never been formally scrapped. Russia has vehemently objected to the deployment of missile shields in central Europe, even threatening to use “destructive force” if the shields are put in place.


The plan to deploy sea- and shore-based missile shields in Europe is part of the Obama administration’s plan to protect Europe from ballistic-missile attack.


The first Aegis Ashore site will be up and running by 2015 in Romania, followed by another installation in Poland in 2018.


They will complement the missile defense work provided by BMD-capable ships. As part of this, the Navy has begun moving four destroyers to Rota, Spain, to serve as in-theater BMD patrol assets. The Donald Cook arrived in February and will be joined by destroyers Ross, Porter and Carney over the next two years.


The Navy is now seeking sailors to man the Romania site, set to come online next year. The duty, especially the operational time, is sure to be demanding.


The Aegis Ashore sites will be run round-the-clock by three crews. Each shift has an 11-person watch team, including rates that typically work in a ship’s combat information center: fire control technicians, operations specialists, and cryptologic technicians (technical). One watch officer will oversee them.


Officials plan to deploy three of these specially trained watch teams for six months at a time. This will be an operational tour, similar to a ship’s cruise, and won’t come with permanent change-of-station orders or the possibility of bringing dependents to Romania.


All of the watch teams will be assigned to a stateside command and will deploy from there. Their workups are four months of indoctrination and team trainers, culminating in a BMD certification. The first watch teams will go through the trainers starting in early 2015 and are set to deploy in the early summer, Navy officials said.


The battery’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief will stay in Romania and oversee the rotating teams on yearlong orders

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
Missile Defense Programs Still High-Risk: GAO


April 3, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Government Accountability Office; issued April 2, 2014)


Missile Defense: Mixed Progress in Achieving Acquisition Goals and Improving Accountability

Testimony by Cristina T. Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senate Committee on Armed Services.

The Department of Defense's (DOD) Missile Defense Agency (MDA) made progress in its goals to improve acquisition management, and accountability and transparency. The agency gained important knowledge for its Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) by successfully conducting several important tests, including the first missile defense system-level operational flight test. Additionally, key programs successfully conducted developmental flight tests that demonstrated key capabilities and modifications made to resolve prior issues. MDA also made some improvements to transparency and accountability. For example, MDA improved the management of its acquisition-related efforts to deploy a missile defense system in Europe and MDA continued to improve the clarity of its resource and schedule baselines, which are reported to Congress for oversight.

Although some progress has been made, MDA acquisitions are still high risk, due to inherent technical and integration challenges, tight timeframes, strategies that overlap development and production activities, and incomplete management tools. More specifically:

MDA faces challenges stemming from higher-risk acquisition strategies that overlap production activities with development activities. While some concurrency is understandable, committing to production and fielding before development is complete often results in performance shortfalls, unexpected cost increases, schedule delays, and test problems. GAO found that the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense SM-3 Block IB and Ground-based Midcourse Defense programs, which have already produced some of their assets before completing testing, discovered issues during testing that have affected or continue to affect production.

Testing continues to fall short of goals. For example, the first ever system-level operational flight test failed to demonstrate true integration. MDA also combined, delayed, and deleted some tests, and eliminated test objectives in other tests. These challenges reduced the knowledge they had planned to obtain in order to understand the capabilities and limitations of the BMDS.

MDA has not yet fully developed or implemented a complete management strategy for synchronizing its efforts to deploy missile defense in Europe. As a result, it remains unclear how different European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) efforts are aligned together and what constitutes success in delivering capabilities in Europe.

Issues with the content and presentation of resource and schedule baselines continue to limit their usefulness as management tools. For the fourth year, GAO has found that MDA's cost estimates are unreliable for some BMDS elements and do not include certain costs for military services which may significantly understate total costs. Recently, Congress took steps to require that improvements be made to MDA's cost estimates, so GAO did not make any new cost recommendations. MDA's schedule baselines continue to be presented in a way that makes it difficult to assess progress. For instance, MDA's schedule baselines identify numerous events, but provide little information on the events and why they are important.

Why GAO Did This Study

In order to meet its mission, MDA is developing a diverse group of BMDS components including (1) land-, sea-, and space-based sensors; (2) interceptors; and (3) a battle management system. These systems can be integrated in different ways to provide protection in various regions of the world. Since its inception in 2002, MDA has been given flexibility in executing the development and fielding of the ballistic missile defense system. This statement addresses recent MDA progress and the challenges it faces with its acquisition management. It is based on GAO's March and April 2014 reports and prior reports on missile defense.

What GAO Recommends

In April 2014, GAO recommended that MDA verify any changes needed for the SM-3 Block IB missile through flight testing before approving full production; retest the fielded GMD interceptor to demonstrate performance and the effectiveness of changes; and take actions to improve the clarity of its schedule baselines.

DOD partially concurred with the recommendation on the SM-3, stating that MDA will verify the efficacy of any modifications by testing and that the production decision will be vetted through the DOD process. DOD did not agree with the recommendation on GMD, stating that the decision to flight test the interceptor will be made by the Director, MDA, based on the judgment of other stakeholders.

GAO previously made recommendations on EPAA and testing. DOD generally concurred with them. GAO continues to believe all recommendations are valid.

Click here for the full testimony (19 PDF pages) on the GAO website.

Click here for the related report (49 PDF pages) on the GAO website.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 19:20
Défense antimissile américaine : échecs et retards


03/04/2014 par Duncan Macrae – Air & Cosmos


L’agence américaine responsable du développement et du déploiement des systèmes de défense antimissile (MDA, pour Missile Defense Agency) en prend pour son grade. Dans un nouveau rapport qui fait le bilan des activités de la MDA pour l’année 2013, le GAO (équivalent américain de la Cour des Comptes) critique le manque de progrès dans la mise à niveau de certains composants du "bouclier" antimissile américain, notamment les système d’interception Aegis et GMD.


En ce qui concerne les intercepteurs SM-3 déployés sur les frégates Aegis pour contrer les missiles à courte et moyenne portée, le GAO s’interpelle quant au lancement de la production en série de la variante Block 1B, actuellement prévu en 2015. Le GAO souligne que, sur les trois tirs d’essai réalisés en 2013, il y a eu un échec dont les causes restent à déterminer. Et il rappelle que les responsables du programme évoquent un éventuel problème de conception du moteur du troisième étage, un moteur partagé avec la version SM-3 Block 1A déjà déployée.


Quant au système GMD (conçu pour intercepter des missiles balistiques à longue portée, actuellement déployé sur deux sites américains), le rapport note que ce programme affiche actuellement un retard de sept ans dans la réalisation d’un premier tir de la version amélioréé, CE-II ,avec interception rélle. Ce tir est actuellement programmé pour le troisième trimestre de l’année fiscale 2014. Le GAO note aussi l’échec, au mois de juillet 2013, d’un essai en vol du missile tel qu’il est déployé actuellement, pour des raisons qui restent à déterminer.


Le rapport fait état d’un certain nombre de tirs d’essai réussis au cours de l’année, notamment le premier essai opérationnel « régional » avec tirs simultanés de missiles Aegis et THAAD. Mais le bilan global est mitigé, et la facture est salée — un total de 100 Md$ investis dans la défense antimissile depuis 2004.

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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 20:30
United States and Israel Sign Agreement on Iron Dome Weapon System



Mar 8, 2014 ASDNews Source : Missile Defense Agency (MDA)


The United States and the State of Israel concluded an agreement on March 5 to continue support of the production of the Iron Dome weapon system.


The Iron Dome system is capable of intercepting and destroying short-range rockets, and mortar and artillery shells, and is an invaluable component of Israeli missile defense. During Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Iron Dome was credited with saving countless Israeli lives, and was called a "game-changer" by many Israeli policy-makers. Yesterday's agreement ensures continued U.S. funding for procurement of Iron Dome systems and interceptors, and provides for significant co-production opportunities for U.S. industry. Under the terms of the agreement, $429 million will be transferred immediately to Israel to support Iron Dome procurement.


The agreement represents strategic value for both nations. Israel will obtain valuable resources to contribute to its defense and U.S. industry will receive meaningful co-production opportunities for Iron Dome components.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
Missile Defense Agency FY15 Budget Overview

March 5, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Missile Defense Agency; issued March 4, 2014)


Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is requesting $7.459 billion in FY 2015 to develop and deploy interceptors, sensors, and command and control, battle management and communications (C2BMC) systems that constitute the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) to provide U.S. homeland defense and regional missile defense for deployed forces, allies, and friends.

The Agency is requesting a total of $37.575 billion from FY 2015 to FY 2019, the period of the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).

The budget protects previously established homeland and regional defense priorities. For Homeland Defense, in response to recent threat developments, the Department increased the planned number of fielded Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) by 14. MDA will maintain our commitment to build out homeland defenses to 44 GBIs by 2017. In addition we will execute a return to intercept flight test in the third quarter 2014. The focus of the test will be on Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system reliability and GBI performance.

Last year MDA began refurbishment of Missile Field 1 at Fort Greely, Alaska (FGA) to develop silo capacity to support emplacement of additional GBIs. We continue to emplace GBIs in Missile Field 2 (MF2), conduct GBI component testing, and refurbish currently deployed GBIs to test and improve their reliability.

MDA will continue to acquire GBIs to support GMD operations, testing, and spares and emplace GBIs in MF2 as we progress towards 44 by the end of 2017. MDA continues to fund operations and sustainment of the GMD weapon system with Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide funds.

MDA will take additional steps to keep pace with the threats to the U.S. homeland. We have requested $99.5 million to initiate the redesign of the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) for GMD. The redesigned EKV will be built with a modular, open architecture and designed with common interfaces and standards, making upgrades easier and broadening our vendor and supplier base.

The redesigned EKV will increase performance to address the evolving threat; improve reliability, availability, maintainability, testability and producibility; and increase in-flight communications to improve usage of off-board sensors information and situational awareness to combatant commanders for enabling new tactics such as shoot-assess-shoot.

The budget also requests $79.5 million to begin development of a Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR). The new LRDR is a mid-course tracking radar that will provide persistent sensor coverage and improve discrimination capabilities against threats to the homeland from the Pacific theater. This new radar also will give the Sea-Based X-band (SBX) radar more geographic deployment flexibility for contingency and test use.

We are also requesting $122 million for Discrimination Improvements for Homeland Defense (DIHD). This investment will develop and field an integrated set of Element capabilities to improve BMDS engagement reliability, lethality, and discrimination. The combined effects of these investments will be a deployed BMDS architecture more capable of discriminating and killing a reentry vehicle with a high degree of confidence that will dramatically improve BMD System capability and Warfighter shot doctrine while preserving inventory.

For Regional Missile Defense, MDA will continue to focus on threats from Asia-Pacific and the Middle East as we continue to support the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to protect our European NATO allies and deployed forces from ballistic missile attacks. The Department met its objectives for EPAA Phase 1 by deploying Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships in the Mediterranean Sea, a land-based radar in Turkey, and Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications system node at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany in 2011.

The next two EPAA phases (Phases 2 and 3) include additional Aegis BMD ships (2014-2015) and Aegis Ashore in Romania in 2015 and in Poland in 2018. Aegis Ashore will be capable of launching Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA, IB, and IIA (delivery in 2018) variants.

Our goal in EPAA Phase 2 is to provide robust capability against Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs) and Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBMs) by ensuring the system provides multiple opportunities to engage each threat missile in flight. The architecture includes the deployment of the Aegis BMD 4.0 and 5.0 weapon systems with SM-3 Block IBs at sea and at an Aegis Ashore site in Romania. The Romania site is on schedule to be available in 2015.

In support of EPAA Phase 3, the SM-3 Block IIA, which we are co-developing with the Japanese government, and an upgraded version of the Aegis Weapons System are on schedule for deployment in 2018 at the Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania and at sea. The upgraded Aegis Weapons System combined with the faster, longer reaching SM-3 IIA will provide capability to counter more sophisticated threats when compared to the SM-3 IA and IB and will extend coverage to NATO allies in Europe threatened by longer range ballistic missiles.

The MDA is requesting $435 million to procure 30 Aegis SM-3 Block IB missiles in FY 2015, for a total of 332 SM-3 Block IB missiles. MDA requests $68.9 million for advance procurement for four long lead items associated with the FY 2016 SM-3 Block IB missile buy to ensure timely delivery to the Combatant Commander. These items include: 1) MK 104 Dual Thrust Rocket Motor, 2) MK 72 Boosters, 3) Integrated Dewar Assemblies and 4) Circuit Card assemblies.

For FY 2015, the MDA is requesting $464 million for THAAD procurement, which includes the purchase of 31 THAAD interceptors. This puts us on a path for an additional THAAD battery, based on warfighter demand and operational need. We will continue to enhance THAAD’s ability to operate through post-intercept debris, enable launch of THAAD’s interceptors using sensor data provided by other BMDS sensors, and maintain capability against current and evolving threats.

We will also deploy a second forward-based X-band AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan, improving homeland and regional defense capabilities and increasing our global operational AN/TPY-2 radar posture, and we will build and improve the C2BMC infrastructure at fielded sites.

In addition to continuing the enhancement of global BMD survivable communications and support for operations and sustainment of C2BMC at fielded sites, in FY 2015 we will integrate Overhead Persistent Infrared data into C2BMC to support cueing of BMD sensors worldwide. We will also improve sensor data integration and battle management in C2BMC to support Aegis BMD cueing and launch-on and engage-on remote capability.

We are developing fiscally sustainable advanced BMD technologies that can be integrated into the BMDS to adapt to threat changes. Our investments are focused on technology that brings upgradeable capability to the warfighter. Our advanced technology investments are determined by systems engineering, which permits us to evaluate and determine which emerging technical solutions will best address gaps in the BMDS and enhance overall BMDS capability and performance. The goals of our investments are to deploy a future BMDS architecture more capable of discriminating and intercepting the reentry vehicle with a high degree of confidence, and to allow warfighters to dramatically improve their shot doctrine.

This budget continues MDA’s longstanding commitment in support of Israeli defensive efforts to include the development of the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS), Upper Tier Interceptor (UTI), Arrow Weapon System Improvements, and procurement of the Iron Dome Weapon System (IDWS). MDA is working with the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) on these programs to include the delivery of Iron Dome batteries and interceptors and long lead item procurements for (DSWS) and (UTI).

Working collaboratively with independent testers and the Services, MDA follows an Integrated Master Test Plan and continues a flight test program using operationally realistic conditions to demonstrate BMD capabilities against current and emerging threats. Robust testing demonstrates BMDS capability while further enhancing war fighter confidence in the performance of the BMDS.

The FY 2015 budget balances capabilities and risks to: deter aggression, protect the interests of the United States and its allies, respond to warfighter requirements, and pursue cost- and operationally-effective capabilities against future threats. To advance the Administration’s missile defense priorities, the FY 2015 MDA’s request for BMD programs is $7.459 billion.

Click here for the FY2015 Appropriations Summary (1 PDF page)

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8 janvier 2014 3 08 /01 /janvier /2014 12:30
Israël teste le système anti-missile Arrow 3 pendant la visite de Kerry


03 janvier 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


JERUSALEM - Israël a procédé vendredi avec succès à un deuxième test de son système Arrow 3, mis au point avec les Etats-Unis pour intercepter les missiles balistiques, a indiqué un porte-parole du ministère de la Défense.


Cet essai a eu lieu en pleine visite du secrétaire d'Etat américain John Kerry en Israël et dans les Territoires palestiniens, où il s'efforce de faire avancer le processus de paix.


Un deuxième test en vol de l'intercepteur Arrow 3 a été mené avec succès (...) au-dessus de la mer Méditerranée le matin, a précisé le ministère dans un communiqué. Il a effectué une trajectoire extra-atmosphérique dans l'espace, conformément aux plans.


Le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, qui a revu M. Kerry vendredi après une première série d'entretiens jeudi, a salué la réussite de l'essai du système Arrow 3, fruit de la coopération israélo-américaine.


De son côté, le sénateur républicain John McCain, en visite en Israël et proche de la droite au pouvoir, a qualifié le test de succès historique.


M. McCain a estimé que ce système défensif atteste amplement (...) du meilleur de la technologie israélienne et américaine.


Arrow 3 (Hetz en hébreu), testé une première fois en février 2013, comporte un radar qui détecte les missiles, puis transmet les informations à un centre de contrôle, lequel déclenche le lancement d'un missile après avoir analysé et calculé la trajectoire de celui à intercepter.


Il est en partie financé par les Etats-Unis, avec notamment la participation de l'avionneur Boeing.


Le lancement du projet Arrow remonte à 1988, dans le cadre du programme antibalistique américain connu sous le nom de Star Wars. Il a été accéléré après le bombardement du territoire israélien par des missiles Scud irakiens durant la première guerre du Golfe, en 1991.


Israël accuse en outre l'Iran de vouloir se doter de l'arme atomique, et craint qu'il équipe ses missiles balistiques de têtes nucléaires, ce que dément Téhéran.

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8 janvier 2014 3 08 /01 /janvier /2014 08:30
Israel moves closer to anti-missile shield with Arrow 3 test


TEL AVIV, Israel, Jan. 6 (UPI)


Israel's latest test-firing of its high-altitude Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system marks a major step toward the Jewish state's plan to build a multilayer missile defense shield against everything from Iranian intermediate-range ballistic weapons to home-made rockets built by Palestinian militants.


The Arrow, under development by state-run Israel Aerospace Industries and the Boeing Co. of the United States, will be Israel's primary defense against ballistic missiles when it's declared operational. That's currently expected to be some time in 2015.


The system's upgraded missile underwent its second flight test Friday over the eastern Mediterranean although it did not involve an interception, officials reported.


The test took place at the Palmahim air force base on the coast south of Tel Aviv. The two-stage Arrow reached its operational altitude outside Earth's atmosphere where it is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles high enough to disintegrate chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.


Yair Ramati, head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, said the test, which was attended by U.S. officials, involved the solid-fuel exo-atmosphere interceptor jettisoning its booster rocket.


"The kill vehicle continued to fly in space and conducted various maneuvers ... for a couple of minutes" using thrust vectors, Ramati reported.


The interceptors do not carry explosives, but destroy their targets by ramming them at closing speeds of thousands of feet per second and vaporizing them.


The Arrow 3 system will constitute the topmost tier of the planned Homa -- Hebrew for The Wall -- defense shield and will be dedicated to intercepting ballistic missiles held by Iran, the embattled Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, and, increasingly, Hezbollah in Lebanon.


U.S. officials are reported to believe Hezbollah, which is backed Tehran and Damascus, is smuggling the components of advanced missile systems into Lebanon from Syria where the systems were delivered by Russia in the last two years to build up their arsenal of long-range weapons capable of hitting anywhere in Israel.


Shipments already in Lebanon are believed to include several supersonic P-800 Yakhont anti-ship missiles. Seventy-two of these weapons were delivered to Syria in 2012-13.


The Yakhont, considered the most advanced missile of its type in the world, "represents a new type of threat," Vice Adm. Eliezer Maron, Israel's former navy commander, warned Sunday, since defense systems to counter such missiles are subsonic.


He said Israel has defenses in place against the sea-skimming Yakhont, but gave no details. The Israelis say their offshore natural gas fields likely would be a prime target for the Yakhont.


The 33-month-old civil war in Syria has raised questions about Assad's control over his military's Russian Scud B and C ballistic missiles. Israel estimates the regime, which is decommissioning its chemical weapons, has used about half of its several dozen Scuds against rebel forces.


Arrow 3, which underwent its first flight test Feb. 25, 2012, is the latest variant of the system IAI, flagship of Israel's defense industry, which has been developing it with the Americans since 1988 at a cost well in excess of $1 billion.


Arrow 1 was first deployed in 2000. Arrow 2, with at least two batteries operational, will back up Arrow 3 at lower altitudes when the new variant becomes operational, picking off any ballistic missiles that get through the first line of defense in space.


The next tier down in the missile shield is the David's Sling system defense under development by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the U.S. Raytheon Co. to counter medium-range missiles and rockets.


The bottom layer is Rafael's upgraded Iron Dome system, primarily designed to intercept short-range rockets.


It was deployed in early 2012 and the Israeli military boasts it has destroyed 84.6 percent of the targets it engaged in clashes with Palestinian militants.


That claim has been questioned by some Israeli missile experts, who say it has been highly inflated to boost the morale of Israelis who have been repeatedly warned they face the prospects of sustained weeks-long missile bombardment by their adversaries if a new war breaks out.


This has fueled concerns the multi-tier defense system might not be able to cope with a major missile attack on all fronts, which single-interception trials cannot simulate.

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11 décembre 2013 3 11 /12 /décembre /2013 08:30
U.S. to boost Israel defense missile funding by $173M


TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 10 (UPI)


U.S. lawmakers have approved boosting funding for Israel's missile defense program by $173 million in fiscal 2014 as the Jewish state's military establishment draws up a new defense doctrine to protect cities from Hezbollah's growing missile arsenal.


The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli military intelligence now believes that the Iranian-backed Lebanese movement now possesses around 5,000 long-range missiles that can reach Tel Aviv, the country's largest conurbation, and carry warheads packing between 1,300 pounds and one ton of explosives.


On Monday, leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services Committees unveiled a cut-down defense authorization bill for the coming fiscal year that would boost U.S. missile defense spending by $358 million to $9.5 billion.


The legislation also authorizes additional funding of $173 million for joint missile defense projects underway with Israel.


Funds for collaborative missile projects with Israel are separate from the $3.1 billion in military aid the United States provides Israel annually.


The bill must now go before Congress for a final vote. The legislation's promoters called for a vote before the Legislature recesses for the end of the year.


The proposed funding includes nearly $34 million for the improving the high-altitude Arrow 3 system currently being developed by state-run Israel Aerospace Industries and the Boeing Co. of the U.S.


Arrow 3 comprises the upper level of a planned four-tier Israeli missile shield.


The system is designed to intercept Iran's Shehab-3b and Sejjil-2 ballistic missiles, including any armed with nuclear warheads, beyond Earth's atmosphere on the second half of their trajectory.


Ynet news, the English-language website of Israel's Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot, has reported that two recent Arrow 3 trials demonstrated the system's "high reliability" and exceeded expectations.


Inbal Kreiss, who until recently headed the Arrow 3 program, told a seminar at Tel Aviv University that "the missile's ability to change course while reaching the targeted missile was proven beyond all doubt as the accuracy of interception high above the State of Israel was improved."


He said further tests will be conducted over the next 18 months, including at least one launch into space and "an experimental interception of a missile that simulates a long-range enemy missile with a range of about 1,250 miles."


Some $22 million of the $34 million the armed services committees earmarked for Arrow 3 will for developing the system's "kill vehicle," the interceptor designed to hit and destroy hostile missiles.


The earlier Arrow 2 variant remains in service, with batteries deployed in northern and central Israel. It operates at a lower altitude.


Once Arrow 3 is deployed, it will be used as a back-up for that system to pick off any missiles that get past it.


Additional back-up for Arrow 3 will come from David's Sling, a system to counter medium-range threats, now being developed by Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Raytheon Co. of the U.S. for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Israel's Missile Defense Organization.


The MDA requested further funding for Arrow 3 in April as part of a $220 million package for fiscal 2014.


The authorization bill now before the U.S. Congress includes an appropriation of $117.2 million for David's Sling, according to details released by the bill's sponsors.


This system will cover the gap between Arrow 2 and Rafael's Iron Dome system, designed to counter short-range missiles and rockets. It constitutes the bottom lawyer of Israel's missile shield.


Iron Dome became operational in early 2011 and by official count has successfully intercepted 84.6 percent of the targets it engaged in several clashes with Palestinian rockets.


The Israeli military currently has five batteries deployed, but it needs as many as 20 to ensure complete coverage of the country.


The compromise bill proposed by the two armed services committees supported a request by U.S. President Barack Obama for $200 million for Israel to buy additional Iron Dome batteries.


It also added $15 million to establish a co-production capability for Iron Dome components by Israel and the U.S., a move apparently intended to consolidate U.S. efforts to achieve greater joint production of the Israeli-designed missiles.


The renewed funding push also underlines U.S. efforts to ensure U.S. defense budget cuts do not affect military aid to Israel.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 08:20
US Missile Defense Stumbles Toward Uncertain Threats

Third Interceptor Site: Possible East Coast locations for an additional ground-based interceptor site are being examined by the Missile Defense Agency. (US Missile Defense Agency)


Nov. 26, 2013  By PAUL McLEARY – Defense news


WASHINGTON — While the debate continues over how soon Iran or North Korea might be able to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could strike the US mainland, the US government is forging ahead with controversial plans to beef up its domestic missile defense capabilities well before any threat has materialized.


In September, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced that in addition to the two ground-based interceptor (GBI) sites it operates in Alaska and California, it has started looking at five potential locations to house a third site in the eastern US.


Inspecting a variety of sites will allow the Pentagon to begin environmental assessments if a skeptical Congress eventually reaches agreement on the project and finds the necessary funding.


The prospective sites at Fort Drum, N.Y.; Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, Vt.; Naval Air Station Portsmouth, Maine; Camp Ravenna, Ohio; and the Fort Custer Training Center, Mich., are all on federal land. The existing GBI sites at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., house a total of 30 missiles, with another 14 to be added at Fort Greely by 2017 at a cost of about $1 billion.


The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that expanding the ground-based midcourse defense system to the East Coast would cost about $3.5 billion over the next five years.


Boeing acts as the prime contractor that manages the Pentagon’s program to defeat long-range missile threats, while Raytheon and Orbital Sciences have teamed to build both the interceptors and rockets.


The issue of an additional GBI site on the East Cost sparked controversy on Capitol Hill this summer, as Senate Democrats pushed back against congressional Republicans who again included money for the site in their 2013 defense budget markup. The Republicans also attempted to fund the third site in the 2012 budget, but Senate Democrats defeated the measure.


In June, the the Raytheon-made GBI system failed another MDA test, making it the fourth failed test of the capability — each costing about $70 million — since 2010, but the Pentagon insists that it will keep trying.


While the interceptor sites remain embroiled in controversy, several long-term missile tracking and interceptor technologies are ensnared in Pentagon red tape.


Since the late 1990s, the Army has been working on a variety of tethered aerostats that would be capable of tracking incoming missiles. After years of testing, Raytheon won the bid to actually design and build the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) in 2005.


JLENS can reach an altitude of 10,000 feet and stay aloft for 30 days, and its 360-degree sensor package can scan the air, land and sea for up to 340 miles.


But budget pressures and long development times caused the Pentagon to radically scale back the program — which has completed its recent battery of tests — in the fiscal 2013 defense budget. The Army said it would build just two JLENS orbits instead of the 16 it originally wanted, saving the service an estimated $1.75 billion over the next half decade.


That hasn’t stopped the Army from preparing to send the JLENS to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in 2014 to begin three years of tests in the highly congested airspace, roadways and sea lanes of the National Capital Region.


But the inability of Congress to pass a federal budget is putting that testing program at risk. In written testimony Oct. 23 to the House Armed Services Committee, Army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu said that without a full defense budget in 2014, JLENS “cannot meet scheduled construction plans.”


While JLENS continues to exist in a state of suspended — but tethered — animation, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) developed by the US, Italy and Germany for about US $3.4 billion — with more than $2 billion coming from the United States — continues to move forward. In early November, MEADS, a 360-degree radar and missile system designed to knock down missile threats, intercepted and destroyed two targets simultaneously at the White Sands Missile range in New Mexico.


The only hitch is that after spending billions to develop the technology, the US Army has said it will continue to modernize and upgrade its existing Patriot missile batteries instead of buying MEADS, and the November test was its last.


But the program isn’t completely dead. The Army is assessing potential technologies it might want to “harvest” from MEADS and has promised to submit a report to the Pentagon in the spring outlining what elements of the program it might be able to use.


While all of this work is being done in the face of perceived threats, some perhaps inconvenient geostrategic facts are emerging. In November, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies released a report saying that Iran “is unlikely to have such a weapon before the end of the decade.”


Looking at efforts similar to Iran’s program to develop long-range ICBMs, the study concluded it’s “reasonable to conclude that Iran is unlikely to move on to producing an operational intermediate-range [missile], powered by a 20- to 25-ton first-stage motor within the next five years,” and “an ICBM powered by a first-stage motor in excess of 30 tons would likely require an additional five to 10 years, if not more.”

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21 novembre 2013 4 21 /11 /novembre /2013 08:30
Successful Interception Test for David’s Sling Air & Missile Defense System

David’s Sling System Stunner Missile intercept target during inaugural flight test. Photo: U.S. Missile Defense Agency


November 20, 2013 defense-update.com


The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) completed a successful intercept test of the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS) against a short-range ballistic missile today, Wednesday, November 20, 2013.


This is the second intercept test of the Stunner interceptor for the DSWS, The intercept test was conducted at a test range in southern Israel.


The first intercept test this year was performed in February, when RAFAEL validated the maturity of the David’s Sling system, scoring a direct hit on a rocket simulating a live medium range rocket.

David's Sling System Stunner Missile during a intercept test at the Israeli Negev desert. Photo: U.S. MDA


Today, at 7:30, the target missile was launched, IAI-Elta’s Multi Mission Radar (MMR) successfully detected and tracked the target and transferred target flight information to the ‘Golden Almond’ BMC (battle management control system), developed by Elisra-Elbit Systems. The Stunner interceptor successfully performed its planned trajectory and destroyed the target missile.


David’s Sling is designed as an additional layer of defense against ballistic missiles, to add interception opportunities to the joint U.S.-Israel Arrow Weapon System and to improve the active defense architecture of the State of Israel against missile threats.


The successful test is a major milestone in the development of the David’s Sling Weapon System and provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.

RAFAEL is the prime contractor and development authority with Raytheon the leading subcontractor and US program lead.


More testing, leading toward operational fielding by the year 2015 will follow today’s intercept

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17 novembre 2011 4 17 /11 /novembre /2011 13:35
MDA test-fires THAAD missile system with STSS

photo US Army


17 November 2011 army-technology.com


The US Missile Defence Agency (MDA) has completed an integrated flight test of the terminal high-altitude area defence (THAAD) radar weapon system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii, US.


A THAAD interceptor missile successfully intercepted a medium-range target (MRT) launched from a C-17 cargo aircraft and a short-range target (SRT) launched from a mobile platform.


During the flight test, the space tracking and surveillance system (STSS) demonstration satellites' sensors tracked two different missile targets, displaying the system's precision, real-time missile-tracking capability.


Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems missile defence and warning vice-president Doug Young said that the STSS satellitesdemonstrated hard-body detection and post-boost-phase tracking capabilities.


The STSS sensors tracked and delivered missile target data to the US MDA's command, control, battle management and communications system.

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19 août 2011 5 19 /08 /août /2011 06:20
MDA Eyes UAS Missile-Tracking Potential

photo USAF


Aug 18, 2011 By Amy Butler aviation week and space technology


Washington- The General Atomics Reaper unmanned aerial system (UAS) may eventually go from hunting terrorists to hunting hostile ballistic missiles.


The U.S. Air Force’s Predator and Reaper UAS have been well-publicized workhorses providing intelligence and firepower on the front lines in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arabian peninsula.


Now the Reaper may get a new mission as a frontline cueing system for the burgeoning U.S. missile defense architecture. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) officials say the Reaper and its Raytheon MTS-B sensor are showing promise. The system could plug a longtime gap by providing firing quality data to facilitate early intercept of ballistic missiles. MDA is exploring the technology and operational concepts for using electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) -equipped UAS to eventually achieve “launch-on-remote” capabilities with Aegis ship- and land-based SM-3 interceptors. This means the fidelity of UAS data would need to be high enough for commanders to launch an interceptor before Aegis radars capture the target.


Ballistic missile patrol is one of many potential missions for the large and growing Predator/Reaper fleet. As the Pentagon plans to draw down combat forces in Afghanistan—combat operations ended a year ago in Iraq—officials insist that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets (ISR) will continue to support ongoing activities in these areas. But Pentagon planners are considering how these ISR resources can be reallocated or, if need be, modified to fill capability gaps for other missions.


UAS orbits could be placed to provide a “picket fence” of sensors if an area is expected to have hostile ballistic missile activity, says Tim Carey, vice president of intelligence for Raytheon.


MDA officials say data from early experiments show that “just a few orbits can provide substantial sensor coverage” for various regions.


Gen. Robert Kehler, who oversees U.S. Strategic Command, provides advice to the Pentagon on how to allocate ISR resources across the globe. Regional commanders in the Pacific, Africa, Europe and Central and Southern America feel the focus on U.S. Central Command and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have curbed their ability to monitor activities in their areas of operation. “Their view is that many of their ISR needs are not being met because of all the things we have placed in Centcom,” Kehler says.


A potential near-term application of UAS for missile defense is to support monitoring of North Korea. MDA plans to field the Persistent Tracking Satellite System (PTSS) as soon as fiscal 2016 to provide early launch detection and high-fidelity targeting data from space to ship- and land-based interceptors.


That plan, however, has two problems. First, even if fielded as planned, the sensor gap would not be closed until later this decade. Perhaps a larger issue is that funding for PTSS is in question.


Industry sources say MDA is struggling with a $4 billion budget gap in fiscal 2013-17, and a project as expensive as building satellites could slip or be axed altogether as Leon Panetta, the new defense secretary, searches for projects to cut in light of diminished funding and deficit reduction pressure.


The interim solution for MDA is to test and possibly field the Airborne Infrared system (ABIR), a UAS carrying the proper EO/IR sensors to support early intercept operations (a kill before a hostile missile reaches apogee), improved target discrimination and enhanced handling of the threat of missile raids (tens or more missiles fired nearly simultaneously).


Last year, MDA selected the Reaper as the platform of choice for the ABIR experimentation phase, which is ongoing. “If fielded, we envision a podded ABIR capability that could ride on a variety of unmanned or even manned platforms,” says Rick Lehner, MDA’s spokesman. Ultimately, platform decisions would be made in consultation with the Air Force and Navy if the system is fielded, as these services will be the operators.


Since 2009, MDA has conducted 10 flight tests in which ABIR was used for data collection. Six of these trials were observed using MTS-B-equipped Reapers and the remainder featured risk-reduction tests using ground-based sensors (see chart, p. 43). For these trials, at least two Reapers are needed to provide “stereo tracking.” Each EO/IR sensor provides a “flat” view, but triangulating the target provides higher-fidelity data.


A main objective in the trials has been to expose the MTS-B—which includes visible, shortwave IR and mid-wave IR sensors—to various scenarios and targets, from short-range to intercontinental ballistic missiles.


“We have been able to improve the pointing accuracy of the sensor [and] we have demonstrated automatic acquisition and tracking of the sensor required to meet system needs,” Lehner says. “Modeling indicates the agility of the sensor will substantially improve the raid-handling capability we currently have.”


Today, X-band radars—the AN/TPY‑2 and Sea-Based X-Band—are used for early tracking. Carey notes that the ABIR experiments are the first time EO/IR data have contributed to generating firing-quality data early in flight. (IR sensors typically provide only a cue to ground- and sea-based X-band radars.)


“They just never thought to look up” with the sensors, Carey says. “Everybody was surprised [by] the range at which we were able to detect the targets after burning and the accuracy with which we were able track them.”


The MDA has purchased four MTS‑Bs for ABIR experimentation, two last year and two this year, Carey adds. MDA is contributing to a larger Pentagon effort to develop the two-color MTS‑C; this will add a long-wave IR detection capability. While the short- and mid-wave bands are optimal during launch and rocket burn, a long-wave detector is better for tracking cold bodies, such as missiles after burnout, or plumes and exhaust.


Packaging short-, mid- and long-wave IR detectors on the same sensor ball, however, presents complex challenges, including design of proper cooling and meeting power requirements. One defense official suggests the MTS-C could be a year or more from being ready for work in this area. Lehner says the MTS‑C will be delivered in the summer of 2012 and begin testing shortly thereafter.


This time frame will be a key deciding point for the future of the program. Also next summer, MDA plans to conduct a launch-on-remote exercise. “To demonstrate launch on remote, we will provide real-time tracking data to [ballistic missile defense (BMD) command-and-control] nodes,” Lehner says. “The BMD command-and-control nodes then send [the data] to Aegis in a simulated engagement in the summer of 2012.”


Carey notes that in trials thus far, ABIR has generated virtual targeting data that can be compared against data from other sensors used in the tests. But he says more command-and-control and system architecture work is needed to make the system operational.


Early tests were highly manpower intensive; targets were acquired by hand and tracked by people. Software has been developed to automate that process. But officials need to develop an operational concept of how many UAS must be orbiting in what locations for an optimum chance of achieving early launch data if there is an unpredicted hostile launch. “If you put the aircraft in the right place and we know the test is coming, we turn it on and it will perform,” he says.


Through fiscal 2012, MDA has requested $178.5 million for ABIR. Depending on results of the flight trials, the agency plans to make a development and fielding decision around 2014.

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