2008: Israel has been so impressed by
the U.S. Navy's Aegis anti-missile system, that it wants to buy and install one
to help defend Israel from Iranian and Syrian missiles.
the Aegis system has knocked down nearly 90 percent of the missiles fired towards
it. This includes shooting down a low flying space satellite. The Aegis system
consists of a modified version of the Standard anti-aircraft missile and the
Aegis radar system, that shoots down
ballistic missiles. This system, the RIM-161A, also known as the Standard
Missile 3 (or SM-3), has a range of over 500 kilometers and max altitude of
over 160 kilometers. 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. The Aegis system was designed to operate aboard 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).
By the end
of the year, the U.S. Navy will have 18 ships equipped with the Aegis
anti-missile system. Japan also has four Aegis warships being equipped with
this anti-missile capability. Other nations are equipping some of their ships
unclear how quickly an Aegis anti-missile could be set up in Israel. There's no
reason the Aegis system could not be operated from a land installation. Aegis
was designed to operate in the harsh conditions (both tropic and arctic)
normally encountered at sea, so operating on land is not a problem. Cost is
another matter. Getting Aegis ashore quickly, in a year or so, would cost about
a billion dollars. The manufacturers (Lockheed Martin for the radar and
Raytheon, which also makes the Patriot, for the missiles) would certainly be eager to open up this new market.
There are many nations seeking reliable protection from hostile neighbors armed
with ballistic missiles.