Israeli program & needs dictate faster, higher capabilities
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.
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.
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.
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..
Missile Threat: Pentagon Confirms Iranian ICBMs May Target America by 2015 (Plus – Shameless Self-Promotion!!)
Confirmation: Iranian Sejil-2 Ballistic Missile.
About two weeks ago I wrote that in-depth post above, it was a pretty good. Yesterday via Drudge I saw that the Pentagon confirmed much of what was written (as per the norm for the Analysis category at the Hashmonean I might add in glorious self-promotion lol). As such I’m updating with some of the latest information courtesy of Al-Reuters just below..
I’m also thanking and reminding my much appreciated regular readers who are slowly returning since my break that as in other cases, including the Lebanon War, the Iranian Nuclear Reactor strike in Syria etc, if you happened to have read analysis at the Hashmonean - you probably read it with a substantial jump on the rest of the planet! (Yes, it’s too bad I can’t do this for the stock market.. We’d all be rich!! ; )
Ahem, with that traffic inducing self aggrandizement out of the way
(*link to the Hashmonean*… *you are getting very sleepy*)
here are some up updates from the MSM.
- Initial estimates on Ballistic Missile threat to America way off.
- 2 Stage Solid Fuel Missiles a major advancement
- Nuclear tipped ICBMs from Noko & Iran a distinct possibility soon enough
Money Quotes from the head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency..
“It really is an international effort going on out there to develop ballistic missile capability between these countries,” Army Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly told a forum on Capitol Hill.
They are sharing know-how on avionics, propulsion and materials, among other things, O’Reilly said. “We’ve seen it for years and it continues,” he said of such cooperation between North Korea and Iran, whose Shahab missiles are widely reported to be based on North Korean designs.
Their ability to fire missiles with a stable ignition and launch a second stage represents “a significant step forward” for both of them.. Asked which country was further ahead in missile development, he said it could be described as a “horse race” with no clear leader. [...]
The Israeli view outlined in the article by Israel’s former head of Missile Defense also jives with what I’ve written, that the Iranian program has catapulted ahead alarmingly. In my post I highlighted that these rapid advancements will challenge existing missile shields and looked at the advantages of solid fuel rockets now within Iranian capabilities..
Solid-propellant missiles offer many advantages over those with liquid fuel. They are easier to store, harder to detect and may be launched without a fueling process readily observable by spy satellites.
Iran’s use of solid-fuel missiles demonstrated “a quantum leap in capabilities” over those shown by North Korea, Uzi Rubin, the former head of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization, told Reuters in an interview. “Basically, this is big-power league,” he said, adding that the jury was still out, as far he was concerned, on whether the two had integrated their ballistic missile programs. [...]
Lastly, more ugliness and part of the main event of my post 2 weeks ago – Confirmation of the nuclear threat to America & the World from The U.S. Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center:
“Iran has ambitious ballistic missile and space launch development programs and, with sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015,”
The report, made available by the Federation of American Scientists, said North Korea was continuing work on its Taepodong 2 “that could reach the United States with a nuclear payload” if developed as an intercontinental ballistic missile. [...]
Nothing to see here, move along.
Iran is voting today on a new puppet President, the White House is quiet but leftists who salivate over making buddy buddy with the Mullahs are playing up the notion of the ‘big reformer’ candidate’s chances and how Obama’s outreach is making huge strides. Of course this reformer is nothing of the sort and these nuclear & ballistic programs are full steam ahead regardless of who wins.
More endearing self-promotion ahead..
The original post has more analysis, images & video as well if you are interested. It will undoubtedly show up in the auto related links generated just below these words when I hit the publish button.
Iran is progressing at alarming speed
In late 2007, Iran tested a new modified Shahab-3 based ballistic missile known as Ghadr-1. Key elements of the Ghadr were:
- An improved cone / warhead housing capable of multiple warhead delivery per missile.
- 2 stages, a liquid fueled booster with a solid rocket fuel second stage.
- Domestically produced.
In late 2008, a mere year later Iran tested the Sejil class of missile. The Sejil is an advanced Ghadr, instead of a liquid fueled base stage the new missile featured two full stages powered by solid rocket fuels. Eliminating the liquid fuel entirely was another huge step. Volatile, unstable, and requiring on site fueling before any launch the graduation from liquid to solid fuel severely ups the ante and threat level of Iranian missiles. Enabling Iran to mass produce, fuel, and safely store vast swaths of nuclear capable long range missiles for protected launches from underground silos, or mobile launching on truck platforms. Equally troubling, the switch allows for faster more stable missile flights.
Mere months later, now in May 2009 Iran again tested a new missile. Reasons this recent test is all the more provocative include;
- Further advances in sensors / guidance for accuracy.
- The culmination of Iran’s drive for a domestically procurable multi stage solid fuel ballistic missile that can be nuclear capable, all produced start to finish within Iran.
- Joint mockery along with the North Koreans of the President of the United States, and his engagement with rogue regime theories.
- The push to out-pace Missile Defense.
Video of Iran’s Latest Ballistic Missile Test – Sejil2
Equally alarming, the pace. Iran is simply put racing ahead. At this rate CIA & Pentagon estimates for the Iranian Missile threats are SERIOUSLY themselves obsolete. I am sorry to say this, but as usual the US intelligence community will seemingly be again ‘surprised’ when they come to grips with how radically off base they are in regards to time-frames and these threats. Iran has in the last year achieved space launch, solid fuel boosters, enhanced accuracy & range which puts these missiles beyond Israel and into Europe, and is now arguably fine tuning an ability to defeat US & Israeli based missile defense platforms with this new Sejil-2 due to its speed and multiple warheads.
President is badly advised & mistaken
American estimates regarding a domestic threat posed by Iranian missiles originally looking at 2025 were narrowed to earliest 2015 by generals at the Pentagon, that’s quite a jump. It means American estimates were a full decade off, by off we mean WRONG. But even this 2015 date now seems conservative. At the rate they are progressing and the crystal clear proliferation path going on between North Korea & Iran, ICBMs from these rogue regimes will very shortly pose a substantial nuclear weapons threat to the world, including American cities.
Further, this habit of being wrong as exhibited by other ‘surprises’ like underground nuclear weapons tests this week, admittedly erroneous Nation Intelligence Estimates for both Iraq, and now also in 2007 regarding Iran’s nuclear program, lead one to naturally assume the odds of America being surprised & wrong again regarding Iranian nuclear weapons capability are also quite high, meaning it could surprise America much faster than is currently thought, estimates which are more in line with Israeli intelligence.
One might think that in light of these realities, in light of the fact that it is now very questionable whether American or Israeli deployed missile defense platforms could currently without advancement themselves counter these faster, more accurate, multiple warhead, mass produce-able, solid rocket missiles – Someone might wake up?
Combined with the speed & pace of Iranian progression and the abysmal track record of western intelligence, one wonders why the President of the United States, his entire administration, and his democratic allies in the US House & Senate are all sitting on their asses & taking their sweet time doing little to nothing? No deadlines, no pressure, no sanctions, missile defense cuts, appeasement – I like many others am wondering what world exactly is President Obama living in, because it is certainly not the real world..
Ed looks at former Sec Def William Cohen, who himself is scratching his head wondering why multiple kill (a counter to multiple warhead missiles) and other missile defense technologies are being cut in Obama’s multi trillion dollar budgets?! Ed himself is focused on Noko tests and launches in the post, but the emphasis on rogue regimes is clear, these Iranian missiles are developed, built & tested based on N. Korean proliferation technology.
In the face of Pyongyang’s intransigence, we should be escalating our missile-defense research and deployment, and make a big show of it. We should take shots at the next missile Kim launches to make the point; [...]
Indeed, yet somehow I can’t shake the feeling that in this administration there is a higher likelihood we will shortly settle the outer galaxy, than see a US missile defense launch against a rogue regime live test target. Seems like we will have to settle for sending out poor Mrs. Clinton to the podium to make a few short statements in angry diplospeak, couched in calls to return to six party talks. This hardly instills much confidence in America’s allies abroad, I can’t imagine it being any more comforting to Americans themselves.
I should add that the hundred million dollars funding package for Israel’s continued Arrow-3 development has been approved by the USA in its current budget framework, maybe jointly we can come up with a more ‘rigorous’ response to these growing threats, one at least hopes.. As mentioned, we will all require advancements in our current systems & software to challenge & out-pace these newest missiles.