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Air Defense: The American ABM Triad
   Next Article → WARPLANES: Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad J-10?
January 30, 2007: The U.S. Army had another successful test of its THAAD anti-ballistic- missile (ABM) system. A SCUD type target was destroyed in flight. This was the first test using a crew of soldiers, and not manufacturer technicians, to operate the system. Two of the last three THAAD tests have been successful. Each THAAD battery will have 24 missiles, three launchers and a fire control communications system. This will include an X-Band radar. The gear for each battery will cost $310 million. The 18 foot long THAAD missiles weigh 1,400 pounds each. This is about the same size as the Patriot anti-aircraft missile, but twice the weight of the anti-missile version of the Patriot. The range of THAAD is 200 kilometers, max altitude is 150 kilometers, and it is intended for short (like SCUD) or medium range (up to 2,000 kilometer) range ballistic missiles. THAAD has been in development for two decades. Ultimately, the army would like to buy at least 18 launchers, 1,400 missiles, and 18 radars. 

THAAD is  a step up from the Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile (which is an anti-aircraft missile adapted to take out incoming missiles). The PAC-3 works, but it has limited range. The navy has also modified its Standard anti-aircraft missile system to operate like the PAC-3. This system, the RIM-161A, also known as the Standard Missile 3 (or SM-3), has a longer range than THAAD (over 500 kilometers) and max altitude of 160 kilometers. missiles. The Standard 3 is based on the failed anti-missile version of the Standard 2, and costs over three million dollars each. The Standard 3 has four stages. The first two stages boost the interceptor out of the atmosphere. The third stage fires twice to boost the interceptor farther beyond the earth's atmosphere. Prior to each motor firing it takes a GPS reading to correct course for approaching the target. The fourth stage is the 20 pound LEAP kill vehicle, which uses infrared sensors to close on the target and ram it. 

Thus the U.S. has three anti-missile systems, although one of them currently only operates from warships (cruisers and destroyers that have been equipped with the special software that enables the AEGIS radar system to detect and track incoming ballistic missiles.)

Next Article → WARPLANES: Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad J-10?
  

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bothanhunter?    just a thought...   1/30/2007 6:42:48 PM
ok just a thought but do any of these new missiles have the reach for low orbit satellites? or ability to hit anti satellite missiles launched in or near theater?
 
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Herald1234    Yes.   1/30/2007 6:44:50 PM
Herald
 
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Blackshoe    Did I miss something?   1/31/2007 1:24:47 AM
 

"....The Standard 3 is based on the failed anti-missile version of the Standard 2, and costs over three million dollars each...."

Just what part of the SM-2 program was considered a failure?

I was fortunate to see twelve SM-2s (without warheads) kill 11 drones. Each kill was a skin-to-skin hit; the incoming profiles each varied in altitude (3m-40km), speed (600-3000kts) and EM spectrum.  The twelfth SM-2 engagement was a near miss and not the result of missile system error. Granted these targets were not BMs, rather the SM-2 was only designed to take on aircraft and anti-ship missiles and never designed to go after BM targets. Given this, I do not see how you can call the SM-2 a failure.  Even still, I would not put it beyond the SM-2 to take out a BM, granted that the Aegis had the correct software mod.

 
 
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stbretnco       1/31/2007 1:29:00 AM
Emphasis should be on the failed ANTI MISSILE version of the SM-2, not the entire SM-2 family.
 
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bropous       1/31/2007 11:07:05 PM
The SM-2 Standard in anti-ballistic missile use was a failure?  Isn't anti-ballistic missile capability a fairly new and pretty difficult tech to master?  I would see the SM-2 in ABM mode as a stepping stone, a testbed that helps to move the nation towards true and reliable ABM capability with later systems.
 
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dogberry       1/31/2007 11:14:52 PM
Why don't we use a small nuclear weapon with a proximity device on our missiles?  I'm going to be cynical and suggest that the Russians do.
 
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Herald1234    because you don't want an EMP   2/1/2007 12:11:03 AM
 from a high altitude airburst to knock out your followon ABM killbodies' guidance packages or fry your GCI radars among the several dozen reasons you would rather not explode nuclear weapons in the stratosphere.

Herald

 
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