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Air Defense: Two Headed Aegis
   Next Article → KOREA: Death By A Thousand Cuts

August 29, 2008: The U.S. Navy Aegis anti-missile system has had an 88 percent success rate (14 out of 16) in knocking down incoming ballistic missile warheads. To achieve this, two similar models of the U.S. Navy Standard anti-aircraft missile are use, in addition to a modified version of the Aegis radar system, which can now track incoming ballistic missiles.

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 anti-missile version of the Standard 2 (SM-2 Block IV). This SM-2 missile turned out to be effective against ballistic missiles ballistic missile warheads that are closer to their target. A test last June saw a SM-2 Block IV missile destroy a warhead that was only 19 kilometers up. An SM-3 missile can destroy a warhead that is more than 200 kilometers up. But the SM-3 is only good for anti-missile work, while the SM-2 Block IV can be used against both ballistic missiles and aircraft. The SM-2 Block IV also costs less than half what an SM-3 costs.

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 completed equipping 18 ships with the Aegis anti-missile system. One reason the navy recently cancelled its expensive new DDG-1000 class of destroyers was because these were built to support amphibious and coastal operations, and did not have a radar that could easily be converted to use SM-3 missiles. The DDG-1000 also cost 2-3 times as much as current Aegis destroyers. With missile defense seen as a higher priority than providing new coastal combat capability, the DDG-1000 was killed, and money saved could be used to build more Aegis destroyers, and convert more current destroyers and cruisers to use SM-3.

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Softwar    Aegis Rules   8/29/2008 3:49:12 PM
The SM-2 and SM-3 along with the Aegis system are a prime example of how wrong the NMD opponents are.  They like to spout that anti-missile systems cannot work and do not work.  Yet, time and again Aegis performs the intercepts proving that it does work.  The point here is that Aegis is affordable - we have the ships, the launchers, the radars and the trained crews - its effective - as proven by its track history - and it is not the kind of system to worry about politically - its at sea along with the rest of the Navy.
 
The Navy had to develop an anti-missile defense to protect the fleet against a growing array of sophisticated ballistic missiles aimed at our warships such as the Chinese DF-21 carrier killer with a terminal guided warhead.  We faced similar nuclear tipped threats against our warships before during the Cold war from the USSR.  So this is not new nor is it Star-wars - its all Aegis.
 
Keep in mind - both the Pres and VP candidates from the Democrat party want to cancel ALL anti-missile procurement.  They have opposed Aegis and the SM-3 from the start - saying it'll never work and continuing to claim it doesn't work even after the tests proved them wrong.  We will need it no matter who is elected.
 
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Nichevo       9/7/2008 7:30:43 PM
To dream of would be ABM capability from a sub - SABM - cued by an Aegis style rig aboard a Global Hawk, or 747 or whatever would be needed.  Or by satellite.  One Austin Burke might not own the Black Sea all by itself, but an SSN or so would (SSGN?).  Might bump into some Sov Russki boomers down there though, sigh.
 
But I agree Aegis is a game-changer and surely all - shall we say capital ships? are destroyers and cruisers and maybe frigates called that after the BB age? - should have it or its successors.
 
I believe an "open architecture" version is being developed?  Surely we should productize this as a palletized/CONEX drop-in for all the applications it would then find.  One of the units would certainly cover Sderot, say, or BIAP, if divorced from the naval context.  Look at the fuss over Poland and Czechia with the BMD radar-y-rockety setups.  Uncrate these and you're there!  (Which I guess THAAD is?  What are the Alaska/Poland weapons called/classed, they are beyond THAAD, yes?  This is to require silos, IIRC.)

I do think we should avoid complacency, just because we think Nasha lutcha doesn't mean it's always going to so.   I am not fit to speak on improving on the SPY sets, but would like to know about the possibility of distributing the architecture.  How small can it be?  What size a/c needed to run airborne, or tonnage class of ship?
 
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