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Lawmaker: Restore missile-defense funding

by Brendan McGarry on April 12, 2013

The U.S. congressman who stirred debate this week about North Korea’s potential to launch a nuclear attack says he will work to restore funding for missile defense that was cut from the Pentagon’s budget request for next year.

In an interview with Military​.com, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., criticized the Obama administration’s decision to reduce the Pentagon’s investment in missile defense when North Korea, led by the young dictator Kim Jong Un, is threatening to attack U.S. allies and targets in the region. The regime on April 12 reportedly warned Japan that Tokyo would be the first target in the event of war.

“We should not be cutting missile defense, especially at this point in time,” Lamborn said. “The bellicose statements that North Korea is making should cause everyone to want to make sure that that part of our defense and that part of our national security is as strong as possible.”

The Pentagon plans to spend $9.16 billion on ballistic missile defense in fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1, according to budget documents. That’s $558 million, or 5.7 percent, less than the $9.72 billion it requested for this year. The figures don’t take into account automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, which took effect March 1.

Concerned over the proposed reduction, Lamborn during an April 11 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee cited what he said was a releasable portion of a classified intelligence report that concluded North Korea “has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles; however, the reliability will be low.”

Afterward, the Pentagon downplayed the assessment.

“While I cannot speak to all the details of a report that is classified in its entirety, it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed, or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage,” Press Secretary George Little said in an e-mailed statement.

“The United States continues to closely monitor the North Korean nuclear program and calls upon North Korea to honor its international obligations,” Little said.

Lamborn said he plans to work with congressional colleagues to restore funding for missile defense programs by an amount at least equal to the proposed reductions. He said the cuts stem from a decision to cancel a program called Medium Extended Air Defense System, known as MEADS.

Built by Lockheed Martin Corp., the world’s largest defense contractor, MEADS was designed to replace the Patriot missile defense system made by Raytheon Co., the world’s largest missile producer. The system incorporates a Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, missile, with a suite of sensors and communications centers. It also features a 360-degree radar, which the Patriot system lacks.

The U.S., Germany and Italy together have spent about $3 billion on the program, which critics have called a “missile to nowhere” because the military doesn’t plan to continue development to full production. Most of the funding for the effort came from the U.S.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this year was unable to strip $380 million in funding to complete the program’s development from a stop-gap budget bill despite multiple attempts.

“This is a weapons system that the Pentagon won’t use and Congress doesn’t want to fund. We shouldn’t waste any more money on a ‘missile to nowhere’ that will never reach the battlefield,” she said in a March 23 statement. “Every dollar we spend on a wasteful program is a dollar we don’t have to ensure our service members have everything they need to protect themselves and accomplish their missions.”

Her motivation may have been more parochial than financial. Many of the employees who work at the Raytheon plant in Andover, Mass., live in New Hampshire.

Lamborn said he’s not necessarily interested in redirecting the added funding back into MEADS. “That money would be valuable for research and development for other technologies that are getting shortchanged, like directed energy,” he said.

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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

USS ENTERPRISE April 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Well, it looks like someone in DC has started to get the budget on track. Albeit, slowly. MEADS might be the future, but I say fund a major laser point defense project. We already are making lasers and rail guns. We need funding in these sectors, not aircraft that very much could be replaced by the F-22. (Hint, its the plane Lockheed is making currently which has Lightening issues, which is odd considering the plane is called the Lightening II).

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blight_ April 13, 2013 at 8:48 am

What makes you think lasers are more ready-to-go for this mission than MEADS?

The post-chemical propulsion era hasn't arrived yet. Missiles and guns propelled by chemical reactions will still be in play until lasers and railguns prove their merit. And there are serious range/weather limitations of lasers that haven't been worked out yet; which is critical in a long-ranged defense system.

More likely than not, the long range of a multi-stage rocket will make them the continued choice for a BMD. As for something close-range, perhaps one day a laser or rail gun will step into that.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

Okay, what I am saying is that for now, MEADS is an excellent option for missile defense. BUT I think that we should start putting more money and effort into laser and rail-gun tech, (LIKE WE ALREADY ARE) and use these weapons to help retire some modern day equipment.

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Tri-ring April 14, 2013 at 4:15 am

Rail gun maybe a powerful alternative since the cost of projectile is dirt cheap compared to a multi-million dollar missile. With speeds of Mach 15 you could probably engage a IRBM in mid flight. The problem at the moment would be targeting/guidance of the projectile.

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blight_ April 14, 2013 at 10:02 am

At the end of the day, your choice is striking a target so quickly that it cannot move fast enough to get out of the way, or a projectile that can guide itself to where the projectile is for a zero-zero intersection.

Missile defense still has a significant margin of error the farther away you engage, and short of using nuclear warheads and risking another Starfish Prime there's not much to be done there. Killing enemy ICBM's is best done as close to the launch site as possible: The SM's on navy ships are nice, but obviously suited to the SRBM/IRBMs of our enemies. ICBMs launched deep inland will be far and away before the Navy can hit them in the boost phase.

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stephen russell April 12, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Read where N Korea plans to hit Japan with nuke missile first, IE relive Hiroshima & Nagasaki again Today vs 1945

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USS ENTERPRISE April 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Well, don't forget SK. Also, their delivery systems are hardly on par with the US. I don't think that Japan will be the target, or at least, the first one. It may be on the vendetta map, but for now SK needs all the help it can get.

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Dr. Horrible April 12, 2013 at 10:55 pm

"Or at least, the first one?"

Guys guys – North Korea isn't going to get SECOND targets. Get serious.

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crackedlenses April 13, 2013 at 3:55 am

It depends on how the NK play their cards (don't expect much there) and how much time we spending waffling (something the US has been doing an unusual amount of lately).

That being said, it is highly likely that the Norks will get one shot and no more.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

Well, yeah thats true. Unless they fire one missile, followed by another.

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Dave Barnes April 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm

You should understand that Dougie is an idiot.

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pedestrian April 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I believe he has more brains than defeatist losers like you, Dave.

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STemplar April 12, 2013 at 11:59 pm

The comedy from DC in regards to the budget is only surpassed by the norks imo. I look at these clips with Congressman, the President, spokespersons, and all l hear anymore in Benny Hill music playing.

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nomexjock April 13, 2013 at 1:20 am

The question is why did this congressman feel it was OK to leak classified intel assessments in public? To drive another bloated procurement process for Lockheed Martin (with big facility outside of Denver)?

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STemplar April 13, 2013 at 6:22 am

It wasn't classified.

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Steve B. April 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm

It was de-classified in error and in any event the release of the info. was politically motivated. It was irresponsible to be ramping up the rhetoric and fear level. Not as useful thing in this climate.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Actually, I think the fear level is raised more with the "panic" created by all the media attention. Literally every news report mentions, in just one or two sentences, that NK can't hit the US (except Guam and US bases in Japan and SK). But they proceed to carefully word their report by focusing on the Patriot missile deployment, the navy's actions, the NK "nuclear stockpile", etc. In reality, NK has two missiles that COULD hit Hawaii, Alaska, and the Western Seaboard. But their accuracy and test are terrible if not non-existent. The US is deploying these missiles in case NK's "ICBMs" are any good. Otherwise, everything is going to help protect SK and Japan from NK's tantrums.

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blight_ April 14, 2013 at 10:07 am

We should be moving our longer-legged NMD systems deeper into the Pacific, instead of parking them back at CONUS, where you are firing at targets just before separation, or worse, firing at them in re-entry where they are hurtling to earth at their fastest and presenting the most challenging firing solution.

Japan and South Korea are mostly protected by a mix of TMD around essential sites and the Navy attacking North Korean missiles in early boost phase. For the United States, the missiles that survive boost phase will be engaged somewhere over the Pacific from sites in Alaska and California; and in the time it takes to miss and prepare another volley, the RV's will be in re-entry phase and it will likely be too late.

Here's to hoping that the RV's actually do have a nuclear warhead in them.

Jack April 13, 2013 at 1:57 am

Capt. Dolt Lummox of the Big-E has launched another mooncalf of mass destruction onto the comment pages! Lightning and Lasers? Really? Go play w/ Ming the Merciless little one! STARFLEET!

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USS ENTERPRISE April 13, 2013 at 11:03 am

Come back with some actual knowledge. Not sad insults.

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Bob April 13, 2013 at 11:33 am

Come back? did you bring any knowledge? What are you, 12?

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USS ENTERPRISE April 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Excuse me, I see that we have a troll. I meant for "Jack" to comeback here with actual facts and knowledge, not sad "humor".

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Bert April 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm

When you're an airhead, just claim the other person is a troll… It works for liberals…

aaothead April 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

Laser in space never have to worry about weather. Yeah I know we agreed not to have space based weapons. Well times change.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 13, 2013 at 11:05 am

It is only a matter of time. And actually, during the EARLY spaceflights, both astronauts and cosmonauts were equipped with pistols, so that I guess they could escape their counterpart's country or something.

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Belesari April 14, 2013 at 10:48 am

The Russians built space stations that were armed. Its easy to do shit like that when your a totalitarian state and your enemies press loves you more than their own people.

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blight_ April 14, 2013 at 11:37 am

The Almaz allegedly had a 23mm or a 30mm cannon mounted axially, requiring the entire Almaz to turn just to fire on targets. Not a viable ground platform or ABM, and probably not viable against satellites without a fire control computer.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Its not a question of if, rather than when, weapons will be fitted regularly to spacecraft. If you want to get technical, that space craft NASA launched that impacted an asteroid, (Deep Impact) was a weapon, as it acted a bit like battering ram or missile. Sure, it may not have been intended to be one, but its probably the first step into armed space planes and whatnot.

Tom Billings April 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm

It is notable that we have agreed not to put "weapons of mass destruction" in orbit, but there exists no agreement to refrain from weapons that do not qualify as WMDs. Indeed, even there everyone has been skirting the WMD issue. This is because their hydrazine/N2O2 orbital maneuvering systems often have enough hydrazine, that if it were in a missile warhead, it *would* count as a WMD. The shuttle did this on every flight.

So, now that the ABM treaty is withdrawn from, we could put laser BMD systems in orbit, or any other sort, like "brilliant pebbles".

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USS ENTERPRISE April 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Well, if you want to use that as a "WMD", then technically, the US has launched some of the farthest nuclear projectiles in history; that is, the Voyager spacecraft. They use the natural decay of plutonium as a fuel source. So yeah.

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david April 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Obama and his stooges lie like they breath. Don't believe anything they say.

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Warfighter April 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

A few questions that need to be looked at here before saying investing in BMD is going to save the world are:

1. What is the actual threat?
2. What is the opportunity cost?

Some thoughts

On 1: If NK were to launch a missile, they would be hard pressed to survive long enough to launch another round. If they were to launch a mass of short range missiles, there is a high likelihood that there would be insufficient numbers of interceptors to knock all of the incoming out of the sky to prevent at least some damage on friendly infra/forces/civilians, regardless of the funding allocated to R&D or acquisition.

Though numerous, the guidance of NK missile systems appears to be poor, which suggests they would need to rely on mass saturation to achieve any valuable tactical effect other than anything psychological.

On 2: What is the opportunity cost for shifting focus back towards BMD defense? What weapon offensive systems (or social programs for that matter) will have to be shelved because the shift in funding to possibly knock a couple missiles with no operational significance out of the sky.

I suspect the answer is complex but I think that throwing more money at BMD, particularly at this stage, won't have a strategic impact on the NK situation. That money is probably better used elsewhere.

Besides, if NK was really serious about a WMD, they'd probably pull a bait and switch, getting us to look at their missiles while they delivered a system by some other means into a vulnerable location as far away from them as possible to provide them as much deniability as possible. Echoes of the Cheonan?

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Tom Billings April 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm

"What weapon offensive systems (or social programs for that matter) will have to be shelved because the shift in funding to possibly knock a couple missiles with no operational significance out of the sky. "

Operational significance is not what nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles are about. They are about politics, in this case the politics of Japan and/or the ROK going nuclear. A BMD that stops just a few missiles, that are headed for Tokyo, would save millions of lives, whose loss would shape the politics of Asia disastrously for the rest of the century.

"I suspect the answer is complex but I think that throwing more money at BMD, particularly at this stage, won't have a strategic impact on the NK situation."

BMD money spent today won't affect NK decision-making for at least 7-8 years. because that's how long it would take to field anything new. The Kim Dynasty knows that there is still bitter hostility in the US towards BMD, so they won't change anything till they see an operational system deployed.

You are correct that at this stage we will have to invest *far* more to change the situation than we would have 20 years ago, no matter what we do. I have met at Space conferences both Russian and US delegates in talks held between 1990 and 1993, who told me they were within 6 months of a replacement for the ABM Treaty that would have put a jointly controlled GPALS BMD system in orbit. The whole idea was round-filed by the end of January, 1993, by the incoming administration.

Had that system been programmed and put in place publicly, the North Koreans, and a number of others would have had little to no incentive to start ballistic missile/nuclear systems in the 1990s. BMD shapes the *future* battlespace, not todays, or even the next 5 year's strategic political decisions. That is a future the current administration tries to deny could exist.

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pedestrian April 14, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Say that to Israel, and they will be happy to call you a Nazi supporter, for giving advantage to Iran.

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Warfighter April 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

See comment in section above.

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Punkinjr April 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

The US better get our Nukes ready for deposit. It makes me wonder what Russia plans on doing when/if NKor. sends a nuke to Japan. It could fail on the way and land in the Motherland. Is Russia siding with NKor. I say it’s time we re–arm our country and prepare for kicking this young Punk Running NKor. They think they are superior to us Whiteys. I roomed with 2 in College and they are sneaky little Bastards. They hide their Porn to make people think they don’t like it but they thrive on it. They think they are much more intelligent than us and think they can defeat us. It’s time for US to show them how powerful we are. What is NATO DOING. Burying their heads in their asses. They need to grow a set of balls and start stopping these belligerent countries. Fine the hell out of them. Take control of their Natural resources and distribute them to countries that are for the good of the world instead of just their country. The USA does it every time there is a catastrophe. Who gets called on to help everyone, The USA! These other countries are why we are in poor economic and financial condition. Who helps us. We take in people from all over the world to make their lives better while our own people struggle more every day in the interest of our fellow man. Well. Screw them if we are going to be attacked all the time. It’s time we take care of the USA 1st.

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blight_ April 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Trying to decide what trajectory is required to hit Russia instead of Japan. Maybe you're firing on Hokkaido and your gyros go bad…?

By the way, how do you know they are north instead of South korean?

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oblatt1 April 14, 2013 at 8:52 am

LOL yea would have to corkscrew round sort of.

Reminds me of the Defensetech poster who didn't know that Lebanon wasn't in the Caribbean

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USS ENTERPRISE April 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Well, I mean, this is NK. These guy's idea of good filmography consists of putting a picture of a US carrier, and then super-imposing some crappy shots of flames on top of it. They aren't known to be particularly resourceful, so you never know.

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blight_ April 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm

If their missiles sucked enough to hit Russia instead of Japan, they would probably be blowing up on the pad more often than hitting a target.

Even a WW2-era V2 can hit a city-sized target.

Pretty sure they can at least put a rocket on a city.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Eh. Maybe. But the trigger happy NKs have shown very little understanding of rocket technology, at least, compared to the USA.

Warfighter April 15, 2013 at 8:54 am

The USA does a pretty good job of taking care of itself first. If you think there are many actions being taken internationally that aren't with the interests of the acting nation at heart, then you've been missing out on 99% of foreign relations and diplomacy.

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pedestrian April 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm

MEADS nor THAAD is not a true solution for homeland defense, but more a solution for overseas US base defense, including Hawaii and Guam. GBI and SM-3 is more responsible for homeland defense. However, Obama still is responsible and to be blamed for trashing KEI for the second layer of missile defense of homeland over GBI. ABL is another stroy, but we need KEI back into the budget.

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sad but true April 15, 2013 at 3:06 am

The child has made another mistake. Who could have guessed.

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JAQUEBAUER April 15, 2013 at 4:25 am

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. is another Communist in Republicans clothing. While she plays hard pretending to be a patriot, and looking out for the national security interests of our nation, in the dark of night she is planting time bombs and IED’s throughout the funding channels for DOD. Sadly, there are over 80 Commies elected to Congress, and the Justice department does nothing! Why is that ? Because Eric Holder is the top Communist in the Government, reporting to Obama directly. We have lost our nation, to Marxists, mostly because our nations citizens have lost their soul, and are no longer moral and decent people. Add these socialist misfits to the millions of illegals and other subversives and the sum makes up a majority voting bloc of immoral ,mindless, Marxist idiots, slaves to Marxist slaves. How quickly our nation has fallen from leader of the free world to debtor nation.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

So, exactly when did we have a communist free government, if you apply your logic. I agree, our government really needs some good leadership, we have been through some pretty bad times. But really, a communist state that has the power and influence that the US has would end the world, quite quickly. So yes, the US really needs a good leader, but it isn't exactly falling apart from the seams.

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ohwilleke April 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., is not a very powerful voice in Congress on military spending issues, mostly because he as an individual isn't a very effective politician (he has faced serious primary fights in his own safe district as a result). He couldn't even get his fellow Republicans to put him on his first choice the House Armed Services Committee where he could help constituents in his district's intensely militarily affected Colorado Springs district. While the criticism he makes may be a valid one, unless it comes from someone with more clout, it doesn't mean much.

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SFP May 23, 2013 at 2:29 am

The comedy from DC in regards to the budget is only surpassed by the norks imo. I look at these clips with Congressman, the President, spokespersons, and all l hear anymore in Benny Hill music playing.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 14, 2013 at 12:15 pm

The boost phase is the best time to intercept a missile. Honestly, I would suggest re-activiting the YAL-1, and have it stationed in Japan or Guam. It worked pretty well, and that was against proven, much, much, much more advanced American missiles. Just two or three of these planes could constantly fly around the Pacific theater, a bit like how the B-52 was managed back in the SAC, except, over course, we aren't attacking Russians.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Why would they fund such a program? I don't want to be ape or mean here, but SK, Japan, and Taiwan know that the US is a VERY strong ally. Why should they waste money? I mean, the US has already got them a pretty strong umbrella from "troubles" in Asia, i.e, NK, China, etc.

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blight_ April 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

YAL's range isn't sufficient; it's the fault of the early chemical laser technology. Maybe someday the new lasers will fit in the same 747 and do better; or they'll fit it into smaller aircraft.

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STemplar April 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

You could use an airborne laser or really any boost phase system against the norks since we can position it so close. Same for the Iranians. Doesn't work for the Russkies and Chinese, they can launch weapons too far inland.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

My point exactly, as a YAL-1 with a fighter escort could penetrate NK aerospace and engage a missile, should it be necessary. As for the old chemical laser tech, yes, it is old, but it worked. I would like to see that 747 back in the air, and with more advanced laser systems.

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Nick T. April 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I would say because their a$$es would be the first to get hit, but you right, if we can spend the money for R&D on it, why should they? After all, it's not like their within striking distance of a manic with phallic insecurities, a developing nuclear arsenal, and the 7h largest standing army. Or the the up and coming global superpower who claims every island smaller than 5 miles off their shore? Because that would be a good enough reason for me to fund it. (That was a jab Asia's policies, not you comment, Enter.)

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USS ENTERPRISE April 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Hmph. Well, I am still trying to separate sarcasm from fact. But from my understanding, SK would need a military. But once again, needs the US. I am not saying that they shouldn't, or won't fund any new defense projects, I am saying that there isn't much point in it. If the US was actual, permanent bases in the area (Guam, among others) it is leaving. The power projections for the USA is enough to make SK and Japan think a few times before risking time and effort for a defense system.

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pedestrian April 14, 2013 at 10:56 pm

You better remember when they get their a$$es hit, so will American military service members in those countries getting hit too. Yes American lives dead. Pearl Harbor II. Next in line is China filling the Vaccuum of the Pacific Arena, and invading islands so it may inject its nuclear submarines in the western coast of US. Be happy to see Chinese nuclear submarines spitting SBLM nukes from around the western coast, and enjoy your body melting to pieces from radiation for any chance of nuclear war for those SBLM aiming the homeland.

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orly? April 15, 2013 at 12:18 am

dude…

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Nick T. April 15, 2013 at 12:18 am

Right. The 75,000 or so USMC personnel in that area. It's a fair point, I'm just going say that isn't terribly likely. Them funding it or your war scenario.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 15, 2013 at 10:37 am

Oh yeah. That is whats going to happen. Maybe if the US military was at the same strength as back in WWII. Currently, the entire US pacific fleet is held to take on China, and if necessary, hold them back until other US fleets can support. Our power projection from just Guam is enough to take out Chinese/NK missiles sites, using aircraft such as the B-2. No one is burning anywhere, except if you are North Korean. China couldn't sneak a sub into US waters; as that would require them to pass the most advanced navy on Earth. China's carrier fleet is hardly impressive. US Super carriers would take care of them easily. F-15E's from Japan can take out anti-ship missile sites. And securing Chinese aerospace wouldn't be hard; US pilots have more training then Chinese pilots, and US has better equipment, abundant supplies, and trained ground support crew. Yeah.

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STemplar April 15, 2013 at 1:55 am

ABL was a test bed, nothing more. Far too expensive to operate and maintain. A sea based BPI would be more practical. It's all academic of course, this POTUS isn't going to commit to the strategy or ROE that would be needed to bother deploying a BPI system. You have a very narrow window to commit and intercept a missile in boost phase, really you have to just make a decision that all missiles fired from the norks will be intercepted regardless, and Obama clearly isn't going to sign off on that. He sent his Sec of State to the capital of the country that gave the norks mobile launchers as his great approach.

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joe April 15, 2013 at 3:02 am

They have one. And it's about as well equipped as they can manage, too. Take their main battle tank, for example – the K2 is just coming into service, it's Korean developed and built and it's the second most expensive per-unit tank in the world. K21 is a locally developed bradley equivalent. They have no problem doing their own defense development. Equally, Japan was begging for years to be a tier one partner in the Raptor programme…

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oblatt1 April 15, 2013 at 5:53 am

Feel good ignorance.

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RMS April 15, 2013 at 8:36 am

"That’s $558 million, or 5.7 percent, less than the $9.72 billion it requested for this year. The figures don’t take into account automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, which took effect March 1. "

Oh – the inhumanity, how ever will they survive with only $9.16 billion for the whole Year.

Why am I not worried about this Program?

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USS ENTERPRISE April 15, 2013 at 10:24 am

Or fact. Saturn V is lightyears ahead of NK's rocket tech. And keep in mind, that was from the 60's, the Saturn V.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 15, 2013 at 10:29 am

Yes, I recognize that. But neither of those projects are on par with the US defense industry. Both Japan and SK NEED US support. Their weapons and military are compatible with US tech. The K-2 is an advancement of South Korean industry in the military, but it isn't completely independent from US technology. In the end, it would be cheaper to buy then for, say, Japan, to crank the defense industry back on full throttle.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 15, 2013 at 10:41 am

It may have been a test bed, but it worked, even if it was too expensive. Personally, I think that if we don't activate a YAL-1, the only other option would be to make a laser pod, and have that carried by a B-1B, that would take out missiles. I mean, a B-1 does have pretty good speed, and its payload could allow a heavy laser system on board. As for the narrow window, I think that US stations in the Pacific would detect a missile launch; we managed to in the Cold War, and I don't see why we can't now. Boost phase is short, but vulnerable. Even hitting the missile for a few seconds with a laser could fry electronic, or even change its trajectory, which would have repercussions later in flight.

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Warfighter April 15, 2013 at 11:12 am

Trying to reply to Pedestrian, but the comments are deleted by the administrator as I do so, what gives?

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Warfighter April 15, 2013 at 11:17 am

Just plain weird, can't add anything now.

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Warfighter April 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

Anyway, I had a big bit on how the important thing here was to do it right, making decisions based on data, not rhetoric, and that the solution may require the procurement of additional interceptors, not just funding into R&D that would end up on a shelf, undeployed.

Instead, just got blocked a billion times. Sorry for that.

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STemplar April 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm

It's too expensive dude. You need 24/7 coverage. Bomber sized aircraft are like $100,000 a flight hour. It's range also was insufficient when you inject the notion of mobile launchers.

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STemplar April 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I didn't say the narrow window is a hard issue for engaging a target, although it is, it's the will behind the weapon to actually fire. The ROE has to be in place that already says we aren't allowing any missiles out of their airspace because there isn't time otherwise. A kinetic interceptor which is the only here in reality system we have gives about a 60 to 90 second window to commit to launch and engage.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm

So is the F-35.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Right okay. But let say this. Say you manage to fit a very powerful laser into a pod, say, the size of an external fuel tank. An F-15 on full afterburners could probably engage. And really, you can't out run a laser beam. I agree, it will be tricky, but if we want to be serious about stopping ICBMs, lasers or rail guns are the best bet.

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STemplar April 16, 2013 at 12:23 am

Our best bet is to use what works. NCADE shows far more promise and far more utility than DEW at the moment.

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USS ENTERPRISE April 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

Well yes, I agree. I was speaking hypothetically, or futuristically.

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