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Missile Defense

X-Band: Israel Links To Global US Ballistic Missile Defense Network

GW Bush’s Gift to Israel Goes Fully Active.

So sayeth Debka

A ballistic missile fired at Israeli from any spot in the Middle East, be it Iran, Syria or South Lebanon, can now be tracked from launch by top Israeli commanders by means of the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense System (ALTBMD) developed to protect NATO forces against missile threat and provided Israel by the United States. [...]

In the last nine months, the US and Israeli armies have carried out two training exercises in the use of this system – first during the big Juniper Cobra 2010 war game last November … just after an intelligence alert that Iran, Syria and Hizballah had doubled their ballistic missile arsenals; again, from June 6-10, when the USS Harry S. Truman Strike Force was anchored 50 miles off Israel’s southern shore. They practiced combined responses to possible Iranian, Syrian or Hizballah attacks on Israel in the event of a war with Iran.

That exercise, dubbed Juniper Stallion 2010, tested command and battle management and combined early warning drills against incoming missiles. The American AN/TPY-2 radar network using X-Band for intercepting ballistic missiles posted on Mt. Keren (in the Israeli Negev opposite the Egyptian border) was linked for the purpose of the exercise to the Europe-based US Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS).

I hope the crew likes Falafel.

The Mobile X-Band Radar

The Mobile X-Band Radar - This is what the Joe's will have setup, along with likely associated Missile Batteries.

The X-band radar was a gift from President Bush before he left office, an effort spearheaded by Congressional Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL). The combined package entails for the 1st time a small permanent contingent of US Armed Forces / Military personnel on station based in Israel, in what is ostensibly a fully enclosed US mini-base, existing within a much larger IAF superbase.

They have brought with them localized air defenses in the form of PAC-3 Patriots. On top of the PAC-3s which Israel already fields, the mobile X-Band arrival and deployment probably means the US has also deployed an advanced THAAD ballistic interceptor battery here as well as backup to Israeli systems, they are usually a package with the radar. That would be newsworthy as well as quite yummy. The THAAD is the US equivalent to the Israeli IAI Arrow-2 missile shield. Systems and deliveries were in September 2008..

The United States has deployed to Israel a high-powered X-band radar aimed at improving its defense against an Iranian missile attack, Defense News weekly reported over the weekend.

According to the report, quoting American and German sources, more than a dozen aircraft, including C-5s and C-17s, helped with the September 21 delivery of the AN/TPY-2 Transportable Radar Surveillance/Forward Based X-band Transportable (FBX-T), its ancillary components and some 120 US European Command (EUCOM) personnel to the Nevatim Air Base in the Negev.

While the X-Band radar itself is certainly lovely and VERY handy, and the THAADS are cool too. The critical component isn’t just additional tracking abilities which benefit both Israel and the US regarding ballistic missile launches, but full connectivity to the US Global Network monitoring such launches. That connectivity to the US JTAGS system is the real prize, I wrote about it when the X-Band arrived..

As mentioned, Nevatim is the new IAF / IDF superbase, the new command center for Israel’s air force. Now it also houses a US mini base on site as well the 1st of its kind – a Joint Tactical Ground Station. The system ties all US sat, radar and sensor information together in order to paint a real time view of the full war theater. Useful for spotting & tracking incoming missiles, but also the system used to direct offensive forces on precision strikes, guiding fighters to targets in real time (right to the cockpit as necessary) to take out defenses & missile launchers.

That could be handy indeed it seems not just to report and intercept incoming missiles, but to pre-empt them as well before they launch via strikes. If anything the xband arrival spells coordination, between Israel and US assets in the Gulf, Med, & Red Sea, tying in the US Aegis ABM & THAAD systems across the theatre.

The Obama administration has been quick to claim deep coordination between US military assets & the IDF. It’s true this has been going on, but this plan was hatched under Bush like so many others, and it has been carried out by Sec Def Gates who himself has spanned the administrations. Israel is now tied into the most advanced real time war monitoring system in the history of the world. The haters love to say we have eyes & ears everywhere, as of now they are indeed correct.

A Missile Shield Every Jewish Mother Could Love..

The short range Iron Dome, the medium range David’s Sling, the long range IAF Arrow-2, now combined with the American sea based US Aegis SM-3 ABM cruisers, as well as advanced THAAD American interceptors, rounded out by the latest Patriot PAC-3s; all tied together to the US Global & Space monitoring network. Yikes, that’s A LOT of missile defense. The question is, what did we have to give up?

Kirk who as mentioned spearheaded this effort said it’s not what you think..

[...] “There is no quid pro quo,” he said.

“You mean that the US did not say that in exchange for deploying the X-Band system Israel needs to receive US permission to attack Iran?”

“No, the US made no such demand,” Kirk said.

Let’s pray he was indeed correct. As John Madden might say, the best defense is a good offense.

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UPDATE: Warporn
I realized this post might benefit from video of things exploding!!

YouTube Preview Image
Above: FutureWeapons on THAAD, which gives a nice quick overview on layered Missile Defense described in the post.

Fast Track: Arrow 3 Raising The Bar on Missile Defense (Video)

Israeli program & needs dictate faster, higher capabilities

Arrow3

Boeing CGI of the jointly in development IAI Arrow 3 ABM interceptor

Last year, the USA radically altered its ballistic missile defense plans by scrapping its long range ICBM defense plan based in Europe in favor of shorter medium range defense systems. The main component of the new plans would be the SM-3 interceptor, currently in use on American AEGIS ABM Cruisers.

A major focus of the plan was to upgrade the SM3  interceptors themselves in capability, making them adaptable to launches from the ground as opposed to only at sea, amongst other capability upgrades in newer block variants of the missile.

Joint Effort

During testimony to the Armed Services Committee as a result of the scrapping of the ICBM program, we learned more about the Israeli Arrow - the next generation Israeli interceptor as well as the future of the SM-3. The new Israeli interceptor incorporates some intense new enhancements, and if deployed as planned will represent a significant jump forward for Israeli missile defense. If successful the program due to its advanced technology will likely also be employed by the USA, as it is slated to surpass the SM3 interceptors in capability and do so in the near term.

Leapfrogging current capability

The Israeli concept is to take the medium range interceptor Arrow 2s and make them more versatile in two ways. Exo Atmospheric, enabling them to intercept targets outside the atmosphere, combined with some radical advancements in self propulsion & sensors. In other words Israel wants the system to be able to self guide itself outside the atmosphere once the booster is released, allowing the actual interceptor warhead to track and seek targets solo. Instead of having multiple system designed for medium & longer range ICBMs Israel wants to combine it all into a medium system that can hit long range ICBMs in space, at least that’s my understanding of it all..

Lieutenant General Patrick J. O’Reilly, Director of the MDA:

“The design of Arrow 3 promises to be an extremely capable system, more advanced than what we have ever attempted in the U.S. with our programs” Gen. O’Reilly told the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittee for strategic forces. “This has to do with the seekers that have greater flexibility and other aspects, such as propulsion systems- it will be an extremely capable system”.

The benefits of the new interceptor would include the ability to sense decoys, and re-route interception to another target. Equally, in multiple volleys with large numbers of incoming missiles the system could in theory allow Israel to send up multiple ABM missiles and the individual interceptors could re-target other warheads if their initial target were already destroyed or perhaps missed.

Science Fiction?

The Americans say.. Possibly. The reasoning lies not behind the radical Israeli technology which makes all this theoretically feasible, but the compressed time frames. General Oreilly (the father of US ABM currently) laid out how the US goes about fielding & testing US programs (Video), usually measured in years verging on a decade or more. Israel seeks to develop, field & test this radical jump in just a few scant years.

The Israel Air Force will hold its first test of the Arrow 3, under development by Israel Aerospace Industries, in early 2011, officials said on Wednesday.

Jointly developed by IAI and Boeing in the US, the Arrow 3 will serve as Israel’s top-tier missile defense system, adding another layer of defense to that provided by the Arrow 2, which is already operational and deployed throughout Israel.

The initial test of the Arrow 3 will not include the interception of a mock enemy missile. An interception test will likely take place in 2012.

“The Arrow system can effectively counter all of the missile threats that exist in the region,” said Inbal Kreiss, the Arrow 3 project manager at IAI. [...]

The much more cautious Americans are skeptical, firstly they generally spend a ton more money than Israel does in development and this translates on time frames as well. Israel does development leaner & meaner in this regard as a consequence of not having as much funding or time for that matter.

In written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee June 16, O’Reilly said the Arrow-3 program has “very high schedule and technical risk,” leading MDA to fund work on a land-based version of the SM-3 as a backup.

Integration

Some of the benefits of this US skepticism are integration, as a backup Israeli arrow launchers will be modified to house the American SM3 interceptors (who’s advancement as stated will be longer in the coming). Equally, the Arrow 3 if successful will be able to integrate to American sea based launchers. Overall, the radar & detection systems are also being integrated more globally in line with the American new plan for its own missile defenses, as evidenced already by the deployment of the US X-Band Radar in Israel by G. W. Bush.

Can we succeed?

They said the Arrow itself (Hetz) could not be done as well in the 80s when it was initially proposed. The Arrow 2 is now fully deployed and can intercept Scuds & basic Shahabs as we speak. I would not bet against Israel again moving the ball forward in ABM Missile Defense. As it is the rush is on because of Iran’s large leaps in fielding ICBMs and nuclear capable missiles. In the end we don’t have much choice BUT to succeed..

Integration Nation: 3 Tiers for Israeli Ballistic Missile Defense Tested

Cooking up the recipe for the World’s 1st multi level integrated Missile Defense System

Israel has been working hard to get a comprehensive ballistic missile defense shield in place..

IAF Arrow 2

IAF Arrow2

The Arrow 2 is deployed against long range Scud / Shihab type missiles from Syria & Iran, currently in 2-3 batteries across Israel. It targets weapons which usually have ranges between 400 to 1200+ KM.

The successor Arrow 3 is itself under high speed joint Israeli US development to counter Iran’s continuous missile advances. It is currently slated according to both US & Israeli officials to be the most advanced medium ballistic missile interceptor around, and is being fast-tracked for development into the new US missile shield announced by the Pentagon last year.

David's Sling / Magic Wand

David's Sling / Magic Wand interceptor

David’s Sling or Magic Wand as it is also called is a medium interception system nearing deployment, it’s goal is to protect against missiles supplied by Iran to both Syria & Hezbollah with ranges of approx 100-200 KM. The Zelzal type weapons that were flattened by the Israeli airforce in the opening hours of the 2nd Lebanon war that can reach Tel Aviv.

Iron Dome

Iron Dome interceptor

Iron Dome, which is also in final testing & production for deployment this year is a short range Qassam & Katyusha rocket defense. Targeting those weapons with 1-30 KM ranges that dropped by the 1000s on Sderot from Gaza.

ABM Shield: You don’t have one of these in Iran do you?

Now word reaches from YNET that Israel has begun testing and simulations on protocols & doctrine for coordinating the various systems into a comprehensive ABM shield, the 1st of its kind in the world..

The security establishment conducted a first-of-its-kind trial run, meant to test the joint operation of several anti missile and rocket defense systems. The aim of the test was to gage the systems’ performance during a missile attack on Israel.

Israeli Air Defense Network Commander Brigadier-General Doron Gavish said it was the first test of its kind conducted in the world. The experiment evaluated the command and control units of each system in order to engineer the ultimate “recipe” for optimal performance when the need arises. “It is a significant test that will give us the knowledge and tools to intercept different threats,” said the head of the Air Force’s defense branch, Lieutenant-Colonel Avi Cohen.

The trial was another step forward for the security establishment and its goal of launching a graded anti-ballistic defense system. [...]

Of course, ABM is not foolproof. Threats can get through and do significant damage, but such an ABM shield can vastly lessen the blow for both critical military installations  & the civilian population centers. It can also serve as a heavy duty deterrent, since certain terror entities & countries do not have such a shield in place by any stretch of the imagination and are fully vulnerable to counter missile attack.

The US Israel Alliance

It is also worth noting for those that often question the benefits of the US Israel alliance, the jointly developed Arrow 2 and these other components have provided the basis for America’s own missile defense platforms over the years, and the Arrow 2/3 will be integrated into America’s own ballistic missile shield as well going forward we have learned from the Pentagon.

With Israel leading the way on a multi tiered system, the 1st of its kind, our friends in the USA will also benefit greatly as whatever we develop & learn in our pioneering efforts will end up being integrated and implemented in American ABM systems down the road, protecting both American civilians & forces in the future from missile attack. That’s good news for all of us, and bad news for our common enemies.

33 Minutes to Impact: Obama Bails on Missile Defense (Video)

Why would we in Israel, be at all concerned about this US administration’s commitments on Iran or anything else for that matter?

The suggestion is down right silly! After all it isn’t as if..

  • Obama reneged on the Bush / Sharon settlement agreements.
  • Obama reneged on the Eastern European Missile Defense Shield.
  • Obama reneged on barring Iranian Uranium Enrichment as a pre-condition for Iranian talks
  • Obama reneged on supporting Iranian democracy protesters in lieu of the Supreme Leader.
  • Obama reneged on isolating Syria and shielding Lebanon from Syrian re-occupation
  • Obama reneged on supporting Latin American allies like Honduras or Colombia

So now it’s the Poles and Czechs.. No big deal, it’s not as if Iran is even a threat. Who needs Missile Defense any how. It’s not as if the Iranians are developing nuclear weapons or have threatened to destroy Israel on numerous occasions either.

Don’t you worry. Not in Israel or even in America now that US appeasement has reached stratospheric heights, because it’s not as if President Obama is an appeaser either. Man o man, this guy can LEAD!

Video: 33 Minutes – The time required for a nuclear armed missile to reach American Shores

Precisely the system versus Iran now scrapped in Europe to defend America & allies, by President Obama today.

It’s being ‘re-designed’. Given a little bit of the ‘ole Hope & Change mojo’ which has been working out so well lately..
Awesome!

‘Invisible Shield’ Deployed: Trophy APS Declared Operational by IDF (Video)

Witness the power of this fully armed & operational er.. Active Protection System : )

Mark IV Merkavas have already had Trophies on-board in more limited deployment, but now the IDF after most recent testing has declared the life & tank saving missile protection operational. Great news indeed..

The IDF Ground Forces Command has declared the Trophy anti-tank missile defense system operational, following a series of tests last week that surpassed expectations for the system’s capabilities, it was revealed on Thursday.

The Trophy system, developed by Rafael, creates a hemispheric protected zone around armored vehicles such as the Merkava tank, which operated prominently in Lebanon. The system is designed to detect and track a threat and counter it with a launched projectile that intercepts the anti-tank missile.

The test was held last week in an IDF base in the South. The system was installed on old tanks and was tested in two positions – static and in motion. According to defense officials, it succeeded in intercepting all of the enemy anti-tank missiles.

Foreign military attachés from around the world were present at the test site and have expressed interest in possibly purchasing the system for their militaries [...]

Video: 3DGarage in Israel prepared the following PR film for Rafael, developer of the system.

Hard Kill: An Israeli Merkava Sporting Trophy in Testing

Hard Kill: An Israeli Merkava Sporting Trophy in Testing

Here are details on the Iron Fist, the alternative Israeli APS system destined for Israeli Namer APCs. Yes, we made two of them & Iron Fist is mighty cool too..

US Falls Behind in Force Protection for Political Reasons

Meanwhile, the USA for what seemed like internal Army political reasons and an effort to flow funds to Raytheon opted not to test or employ Trophy despite the need for such a system to protect Strykers & US tanks, it was a pretty controversial move. 3 years later the much heralded Raytheon alternative (Quick Kill APS) which is very similar to the IDF Iron Fist I linked above, is still not ready and has met with design problems.

I wrote a number of posts on Trophy and a few on the US aspect, you can view them with a search here.

The old adage Woulda, coulda, shoulda may be applicable. Back in Israel Trophy deployment is slated to expand soon to older Mark III & Mark II Merkavas as well in the future, that’s on top of the standard application for all new Merkavas off assembly lines. This should prove useful to help counter the thousands of anti-tank RPGs & weapons Hezbollah has in Lebanon.

CounterMeasures: Israeli Airlines Getting Laser Based Missile Defense

Better safe than sorry..

It seems like nearly a decade has gone by since Israel decided to outfit international airliners with missile defense systems, in actuality it has only been about 7 years. The initial spur was the widely reported attempt by Al Qaeda to knock an Israeli commercial jet out of the sky on takeoff from Mombasa Kenya, during a simultaneous attack which sadly killed 10 people in a suicide bombing. The missiles targeting the Israeli aircraft thankfully did not connect.

Israel shortly thereafter announced it was prepped to mandate missile defense systems for all Israeli commercial carriers, however the flare based system proposed at the time known as Flight Guard drew harsh reactions from international airport operators who threatened to ban Israeli carriers from landing if the system were deployed because they deemed the flares a danger to aircraft..

Defense Update has details on the new laser based effort called C-Music developed by Elbit, and the 76 million dollar tender to get Israeli carriers some effective missile counter measures.

Israel’s Ministry of Transportation awarded Elbit Systems a $76 million contract for the supply of directional infra-red countermeasure systems (DIRCM) developed and produced by Elbit Systems’ wholly owned subsidiary, Elbit Systems Electro-optics El-Op Ltd. The systems will be installed aboard a variety of commercial passenger airplanes operated by Israeli airlines El-Al, Arkia and Israir as part of the comprehensive ‘Sky Shield’ air transport defense plan [...]

The system selected for the program is the C-MUSIC (commercial multi-spectral infrared countermeasure), employs a fiber-laser based directional infra-red countermeasure technology developed for military aircraft and helicopters. The laser beam generated by the system disrupts missiles fired at aircraft and causes them to veer off course.

Remarkably, the defense system weighs only about 50 kilos – About two pieces of luggage worth on a standard commercial carrier. I don’t know about you but this is a big draw for me to fly El Al in general. The thought of having defense against terrorist shoulder fired missiles which is going to be an ever growing international threat is no small comfort!

The CNN article linked above talks about the possibility of surviving such a strike and only losing an single engine, yeah except for the fact that the engine blaring out heat & attracting the missile is hanging directly below a wing packed with fuel, and the attempt we already saw featured multiple missiles targeting a lone aircraft.

I rather think being taken out by a small shoulder fired SAM on take off or landing pretty much means a total loss of the aircraft and the hundreds on board, there’s not going to be a recovery from that in my opinion. Especially if this is a takeoff with thousands upon thousands of pounds of fuel on board.

A tempting terrorist target in fields and locales outside airports where a lone scumbag can cause serious aviation horror. Depending on how successfully the newest deployment effort goes I would imagine other carriers not Israel related may show serious interest as well.

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