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Air Defense: Defending Guam
   Next Article → NAVAL AIR: Wedgetail Finally Makes It To Oz
December 1, 2009: As the United States moves 8,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam, the air defenses of that American island are being improved. There will now be three different air defense systems. There will be a THAAD battery (24 missiles, three launchers and a fire control communications system). This will include an X-Band radar. The gear for each battery costs $310 million. The 18 foot long THAAD missiles weigh 1,400 pounds. 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. China is about 3,000 kilometers from Guam. THAAD has been in development for two decades. 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 (20 kilometers) range. Patriot also fires anti-aircraft missiles, with a range of 70 kilometers.

Finally, there will be several batteries of SLAMRAAM. This system mounts four U.S. Air Force AMRAAM radar guided air-to-air missile on a hummer. A firing battery consists of one fire-control center, a radar (with a 75 kilometer range) and four to eight hummers carrying missiles. The missiles have an effective range of 25 kilometers, and can knock down cruise missiles, as well as helicopters. It was the need to knock down cruise missiles gives SLAMRAAM a similar mission to THAAD and Patriot; to knock down Chinese missiles. China is seen as the most likely threat to the many military facilities on the island.

Guam is about 7,000 kilometers west of Hawaii. The civilian population is 173,000 and military facilities include a major U.S. Air Force base, a port for U.S. naval forces in the central Pacific, and a base for SOCOM (Special Operations Command). The air force bases heavy bombers (B-52s and B-2s), fighters and tankers, plus Global Hawk UAVs. The navy has maritime patrol aircraft. The U.S. Coast Guard also has a base, as Guam is an American territory, and all residents are U.S. citizens. The army has several support facilities there. Aside from the military, the main economic activity is tourism, especially for visitors from East Asia.

Military facilities are being refurbished and expanded at great expense (over $8 billion), a project that will continue for another four years.

 

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Gerry       12/1/2009 8:08:26 PM
With the advent of any hostilities toward Taiwan by China, Guam would be the major US facility within range to counter any such move. As such it would be a primary target for the Chinese to take out. Up until now there has been little done to harden the facilities at Guam or the air defense. This is good news.
 
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warpig       12/4/2009 3:21:18 PM
And another one-hit wonder graces us with his opinion.  Willy, I hope that tomorrow the Taiwanese all read your post, believe you are right, acknowledge the obvious reality of their situation by declaring they are an independent country, and America immediately recognizes their status independent of the PRC... since China will never go to war with America according to you!
 
 
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warpig       12/8/2009 2:41:47 PM
Once more, I hope that you are right, and that the people of Taiwan realize it and immediately demand independence and formally declare the name of their island country is now the Republic of Taiwan.  Then all this nonsense and excuse for warmongering by China, America, and Taiwan can stop, and all the people can be happier, getting on with their lives without worrying about any war.  Isn't that what you wish would happen, too?
 
 
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