Sunday, December 14, 2008

No time and too much on my plate

Ok, here comes the announced entry. I had a pretty tight schedule over the recent days due to some other projects which are still ongoing. So I am unfortunately not able to catch up in a due level of detail. Instead, I will just provide you today with a reading list:

Russia:
Russia seeks new missiles due to U.S. shield plans
Russian Military Says Sea-based Bulava Missile Tested Successfully (November 28)
Russia starts production of Bulava missile
Bulava SLBM problems teach lessons to Russia, U.S.
Russia acted wisely in sticking with Bulava SLBM
Russia to Test Bulava Missile Again This Month
Putin says no need for Cuban, Venezuelan bases
Russia, U.S. Plan Strategic Arms Talks

Missile Defense:
Missile Defense: Putin says Obama will make concessions
Russian defense chief reiterates concerns over U.S. missile shield
Russia Against U.S. Missiles in Any European Anti-Missile Plans
Russia to Spend $2 Billion More on Missile Shield Countermeasures, Other Defenses
U.S. Fires Missile Defense Laser Through Aircraft Turret
Abandoning Third-Site Missile Defenses Would Threaten Transatlantic Security
US stages successful missile-defense test over Pacific and here (December 5)
NATO Reaffirms Support for US Missile Shield
Financial Crisis Might Delay U.S. Radar, Czech Foreign Minister Says

Other:
Iran develops air-to-air missile
South Korea Takes Delivery for Patriot Missiles from Germany
Pakistan to acquire 100 air-to-surface missiles from Brazil
India’s Shaurya only a variant of ballistic missile K-15

Unfortunately, this will already be my last post for this year. I will be out of town next week without any time for further posts. For that reason the blog will be put again to a pre-Christmas hiatus. I wish you all a Merry Christmas or whatever you may or may not celebrate and a Happy and Joyous New Year. Thank you for following the Missile Monitor this year. I hope to see you back in the next year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

still alive

Excellencies,

this is just a very brief sign of life. Sorry for the long unannounced silence. I hope to get some posts written over the weekend. But for today I have a link to a CRS report "Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense - Background and Issues for Congress". I have not had any time to read it myself but hope to do this soon. Enjoy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Russia tests RS-24

Just quick and dirty: Russia successfully test-launched on Wednesday, November 26, for the third time its RS-24 ICBM. Read Pavel Podvig’s postings here and here for more information.

Yesterday's news...

Nothing is older than yesterday's news. The upper chamber of the Czech Parliament dared to outdate my post at the same time I wrote it: the Czech Senate approved both missile treaties involved in the deal — the main bilateral treaty allowing the United States to build a radar base at Brdy near Prague and the second, ‘complementary,’ treaty that deals with the legal status of U.S. soldiers to be deployed at the base (you can find some legal considerations concerning the SOFA treaty here). 49 senators voted in favor and 31 voted against, one abstained.

However, the lower chamber of the Czech Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, still has to ratify the agreements. As laid out yesterday, it is far from being certain that an equal majority can be achieved there. There is no date yet for the vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Waiting selflessly

Earlier this month it was celebrated (by some) as a major breakthrough that Washington and Prague signed a framework agreement outlining terms for deploying a planned missile-tracking radar station on Czech territory. I already mentioned in earlier postings that the deployment agreements still have to be ratified despite by the Czech Parliament which faces resistance from the parliamentarians. This was confirmed by the speaker of the lower house of the Czech parliament, Miloslav Vlcek, who said last Friday, November 21, that he is certain that the U.S. missile defense radar would be deployed in the Czech Republic. Vlcek elucidated that the Social Democratic Party and the Communists, which hold 96 of the 200 seats in the lower chamber, and also some members of the ruling Civic Democratic Party would vote against the deployment of the U.S. radar. The ruling Civic Democratic Party of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has only 81 seats.

The situation does not look any better northward (taking a U.S. administration’s perspective). Poland's Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said that his country will wait for the Obama administration to make up its mind on basing missile defense interceptors in his country and will not lobby to have the project proceed. He also explained how selflessly that the Warsaw government is – it only agreed ‘out of friendship’. Right, and the U.S. government finances only out of friendship the reinforcement of the Polish air defenses like the 96 Patriots that will be dispatched in Poland next year. It is always good to have such friends.

If you take the recent statements of French President Nicolas Sarkozy on this matter it seems that it is time to rename the French Fries into Freedom Fries again: On November 14 Sarkozy questioned the value of U.S. missile defense plans in Europe, but later appeared to step back from his criticism, the Associated Press reported. Initially he said that the ‘deployment of a missile defense system would bring nothing to security in Europe ... it would complicate things, and would make them move backward’. He was joined by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini who suggested in La Republica that the Obama administration should sacrifice the location of the missile defense shield in Poland and the CzechRepublic for the sake of good relations with Russia.

In his article for MWCNews Jacob Hornberger makes a similar point. He dreams of a speech of President-elect Obama in which he extends the change also to the missile defense policy:

'The missile interceptors will not be installed in Eastern Europe. I can understand why the Russian regime would consider this a provocative act. If Russia were installing the same type of system in Cuba or in Mexico along the U.S. border, that would concern us. Such a project will accomplish nothing more than to increase tensions unnecessarily between our two countries, which it is already succeeding in doing. It’s time we reduced such tensions, […]'
However, NATO reaffirmed on November 17 its backing for a planned missile shield in Europe. NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero said the alliance's position had not changed. During its last summit in Bucharest in April NATO leaders agreed upon that the missile shield makes ‘substantial contribution to the protection of allies’.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

India improves second-strike capability

Iran is not the only country that is into s-names for missiles. On November 12 India tested a SRBM that was named Shourya / Shaurya (Valor). The surface-to-surface missile has a range of 600 km and is capable of carrying a one-ton conventional or nuclear warhead. According to the Ministry of Defense, one of the missile's main characteristics is its high maneuverability which makes it less vulnerable to available anti-missile defense systems.

The missile is silo-based. The Times of India touts the Shourya as a significant step towards boosting India’s second-strike capabilities. However, it also acknowledges the current limits:

Defence scientists admit that given Shaurya's limited range at present, either the silos will have to be constructed closer to India's borders or longer-range canisterised missiles will have to be developed.
DRDO expects the missile to become fully operational in two to three years.
Initially there was some confusion because an official reported that the tested missile was a nuclear-capable 700km-range SLBM K-15 Sagarika missile. This information was later on refuted by DRDO sources.

© Picture: Worldnews.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Missile Alliteration

Iran tested on November 10 a new (allegedly) domestically-designed and manufactured missile. So far, no further details have been disclosed but the name: Samen.

It seems that Iran is not only the wonderland of missile developments but that it also has a favor for S-missiles: AFP reported that Teheran test-fired two days later, on November 12, a new generation of ground-to-ground missile that was named Sajil (some sources also spell it Sejil). Little official statements are available about the missile’s specifics. The Iranian Defence Minister only mentioned that it is a two-stage missile that runs on solid fuel and has a range of 2,000 km. Iranian state television showed footage of a missile similar in size to the medium-range Shahab-3 being fired. Jane’s reported:

However, the Sajil's diameter appears greater than the 1.25 m of the Shahab. Intelligence sources consider the Sajil to be a new name for Iran's Ashura MRBM, which failed to deploy its second stage in an unsuccessful launch in November 2007.
The following video shows that Iranian experts are either not only good in photoshoping but also in video-editing or that the missile indeed lifted off.



Picture © AFP

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Asterixian wars

It is great to see that not only cartoons depict reality, sometimes it is also the other way round: I just felt reminded of the "Asterixian Wars". At the end of ‘Asterix and the Goths’ all clans of the Goths are allied with each other in various opaque configurations and they also fight each other. It is a huge mess and nobody knows who started it.

One can get a similar impression from the current debate about the use or nonsense of the current missile deployments and defense systems by reading the headlines of the recent days. NATO is concerned over Russia’s missile plan to station Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. Russia picks up this ‘blame your eastern neighbor’-game: Lavrov expressed his worries over Asian missile programs. One of his addressees – China – strikes back by announcing that global missile defense systems do not aid world stability. Moscow takes the same line by calling the alleged Iranian missile threat a ‘fairy tale’. At the same time Russia made the tremendously generous offer that it would not rush to deploy its tactical missiles near the Polish border if Washington scrapped plans to station a missile shield in east Europe (oddly enough Reuters speaks of ’a softer stand’). It should come to no surprise that the U.S. rejected these proposals. A MDA spokesperson counters that the Russians know that the missile shield is no threat.
So who was blamed by whom and why? Let’s hope this mess finds a different end that that in the Asterix cartoon.

Sorry for the long pause. I will write again on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

another treaty-signature and a strange congratulation

Right before the presidential elections there were are major news in to report on: last Friday the United States and the Czech Republic signed a framework agreement outlining terms for deploying a planned missile-tracking radar station on Czech territory.

The signed agreement does not come for free: U.S. Missile Defense Agency chief Henry Obering announced that the United States would provide $600,000 for Czech scientific research in exchange for agreeing to host the station – a sum that reminds of fire sale prices. It is a far cry from the $20bn that the Polish neighbors originally demanded.

The treaty still awaits parliamentary ratification which should – according to Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek be put off until the next U.S. administration. So it sounds more like: “Okay, you get your signature but we will wait until the next president comes into office. Then we will (quietly) renegotiate.”

AFP reports:

"We want a delay to make sure about the attitude of the new American administration," said Topolanek. Initially, the Czechs were planning to ratify the missile shield agreements without waiting for the US presidential election results.
Some have no doubts about Obama’s attitude: Czech unsuccessful presidential candidate Jan Svejnar told the press that the missile shield project will go on despite the financial crisis even during the term of President Barack Obama. Poland shares this expectation.

In the meantime the Czech opposition Social Democratic Party demanded on November 3 that the Constitutional Court examines the legality of two deployment-agreements.

Faced with all these uncertainties the United States’ Missile Defense Agency is not getting tired to reiterating one of its old threats in order to increase the pressure on Warsaw and Prague. MDA Chieftain Trey Obering said that the United States has a fall-back plan for its European missile defense project should either Poland or the Czech Republic choose not to house key installations. However, he did not elaborate on this mysterious Plan B.

General Obering mentioned already last week that he is worried that delays in Poland's ratification could upset a tight timetable for deploying American missiles here to ward off attacks from so-called rogue states. He expects that interceptor base to be in operation in 2013 or 2014. The original deadline was set to 2012. Given the progress – or the lack of it – in the Czech Republic, it will not take long before we can hear a similar MBA addressing Prague.

The Russian President Medvedev came up with his own form of congratulating the newly elected U.S. President: he ordered the deployment of short-range missile systems in the Kaliningrad region on the EU's eastern border to counter the planned US missile defense installations in Eastern Europe.
"There will also be radio-electronic neutralisation of the new US missile defence installations from the Kaliningrad region," he added.
The idea of deploying Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad oblast is not new. Russia has been threatening to move Iskander missiles to Kalinigrad since April last year, but until now no specific order had been given.

We will see if Medvedev really lives up to his announcement or if this just an attempt to deviate the Russian public's attention from the difficulties caused by the financial crisis by providing them with an option be proud of the wannabe-strong and in military terms powerful country.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Missile Test Calendar 2008

January

01/17 Israel

Jericho-3?, nuclear-capable IRBM

01/22 Russia

P-500 (SS-N-12) Bazalt, nuclear-capable cruise missile

01/25 Pakistan

Shaheen-1 (Hatf IV), nuclear-capable SRBM

February

02/01 Pakistan

Ghauri (Hatf V), nuclear capable MRBM

02/13 Pakistan

Ghaznavi (Hatf III), nuclear-capable SRBM

02/20 Iran

optimized S-200

02/26 India

Sagarika (K-15), nuclear-capable SLBM

March

03/05 India

sea-based BrahMos, cruise missile

03/23 India

Agni-I, nuclear capabale SRBM

03/28 DPRK

Three KN-02 SRBM tests

April

04/02 USA

Minuteman III, nuclear-capable ICBM

04/19 Pakistan

Shaheen-2 (Hatf VI), nuclear-capable MRBM

04/21 Pakistan

Shaheen-2 (Hatf VI), nuclear-capable MRBM

04/25 Norway

Naval Strike Missile (NSM), cruise missile

May

05/07 India

Agni-III, nuclear capable IRBM; two or three more tests before serial production

05/08 Pakistan

Ra'ad (Hatf VIII), nuclear capable ALCM

05/12 Bangladesh

C-802A, anti-ship missile

05/15 USA

NLOS-LS Precision Missile

05/22 USA

Minuteman III, nuclear-capable ICBM

05/23 India

Prithvi-II, SRBM

05/29 China

JL-2, nuclear-capable SLBM

05/30 DPRK

Three SRBM tests

June

06/04 USA

Upgraded PAC-3

06/04 UK

Principals Anti-Air Missile System

06/05 USA

AEGIS BMD

06/17 USA

Tomahawk Block IV, nuclear capable cruise missile

06/25 USA

THAAD Interceptor

July

07/06 Israel

Tamir Interceptor, Iron Dome

07/09 Iran

Shahab-3, Zelzal, Fateh

07/27 India

Nag, anti-tank guided missile

August

08/01 Russia

SLBM, probably R-29R

08/05 India

Nag, Anti-Tank Guided Missile

08/27 Russia

Topol, nuclear-capable ICBM

India

Astra, air-to-air missile

India

BMD interceptor test, exo-atmospheric

September

09/17 Japan

PAC-3 test at White Sands Missile Range

09/17 USA

THAAD

09/18 Russia

Bulava (SS-NX-30), nuclear-capable SLBM

October

10/07 DPRK

Short range missiles: KN-01, KN-02, Styx

10/11 Russia

R-29RM Sineva SLBM

10/12 Russia

R-29R SLBM (SS-N-18 Stingray)
R-29RM SLBM (SS-N-23 Skiff)
Topol, nuclear-capable ICBM

10/17 Russia

Buk-M1 surface-to-air missile systems (unconfirmed)

10/22 Russia

SS-19, nuclear-capable ICBM

November

December

Late 2008

Israel

Arrow-3, SAM

Israel

Iron Dome

India

Agni-V, ICBM

India

BrahMos, cruise missile, underwater launch

Russia

RS-24, nuclear-capable ICBM

SS-19 tested

On October 22 the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces successfully performed a test-launch of a UR-100NUTTH/SS-19. The test was part of the checks needed to extend the service of the weapon until 2010.

The Rocket Forces are expected to conduct two more launches this year, one of which would be a test of the RS-24 missile. Moscow is highly optimistic that the upcoming RS-24 test will be successful; it already plans to put this type of missile in service in 2009.

Image © Риа Новости

Monday, October 20, 2008

Outer space-y missile defense

Earlier this month the U.S. Sate Department’s International Security Advisory Board issued a report titled “China’s Strategic Modernization”. The report finds that "the United States will need to pursue new missile defense capabilities, including taking full advantage of space," to avoid an "emerging creep" by China toward strategic nuclear coercion, the report said. Read this Washington Post article for further information.

The report's phrase “full advantage of space” is opaque enough to be interpreted in both ways, either to cover only a militarization of space or also a weaponization. The Congress already gave an indication of its interpretation of the report’s finding: it voted recently to approve $5 million for a study of space-based missile defenses, the first time the development of space weapons will be considered since similar work was canceled in the 1990s.

Friday, October 17, 2008

We can do it!

We can do it! That might have been the motto of the recent days of the Russians. The military conducted its Stabilnost-2008 exercise.

The show started on Saturday, October 11, when the Tula submarine successfully launched a R-29RM Sineva SLBM. Officials bragged that the missile reached its target after flying 11,547 km which was reported to be the longest range demonstrated by the missile.

On the following day, October 12, the Northern Fleet’s Ekaterinburg and the Pacific Fleet’s Zelenograd joined the shooting. While the Zelenograd fired a R-29R missile (SS-N-18 Stingray) the Ekaterinburg test-launched a R-29RM. Pavel Podvig writes on his blog:

Unlike the test a day before, on October 11, 2008, this one was not reported to be a test of the Sineva modification of the R-29RM missile. It appears that Ekaterinburg normally carries older R-29RM missiles, but can be used to launch Sineva as well.
However, the Russian First Channel reported that it was a the Sineva-type of the R-29RM. Have you recently improved your Russian? Give it a try here:



For a few notes on a comparison between the original and the Sineva-type of the R-29RM take a look at an earlier post.

Also on October 12, Russia test-launched a Topol ICBM which hit a target on Russia's Pacific coast.

It seems that attending missile launches is becoming the new favorite hobby of president Medvedev. He was not only present at the launches of the Sineva on Saturday but also at the one of the Topol on the following day. On September 26 he attended the firing of the Tochka-U (SS-21 Scarab) short-range tactical ballistic missile. The Tochka-U is a 1989 modification of the Tochka missile system that went into service with the Soviet military in 1976. It has an effective range of 120 km.

Reuters India reports further that:

Over the course of the weekend, 12 Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers took off for an exercise that involved launching multiple cruise missiles to pulverise a dummy town on a testing ground in the Arctic.
Pavel reports that in the course of the exercise, some bombers launched full complement of their missiles. Tu-160 never fired full complement of their missiles before.

Reuters also quoted analysts saying that the Stabilnost exercise was a show of military preparedness for domestic consumption and not a Kremlin warning shot to the West. President Medvedev added to this PR-campaign by saying that two new systems were being developed. However, he provided no details.

RIA Novosti cited Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as stating that plans were already under way for a follow-up exercise with a joint strategic command-and-staff exercise called Zapad-2009 next year.

Besides playing with its own missiles, Russia is optimistic to sell its Iskander-E to a number of countries. Rosoboronexport-official Nikolai Dimidyuk said that Syria, the UAE, Malaysia, India and some other countries have shown an interest in the missile system and that Russia will also seek to export the missile to Algeria, Kuwait, Singapore, Vietnam, and South Korea.

But it is not all offensive. There are also some developments on the defensive side. UPI came up with the news that mobile air defense units around Moscow planned to conduct live-fire exercises on this Thursday, October 17, using Buk-M1 surface-to-air missile systems. Apart from this announcement I have not found any post-firing news.

Moscow is also keen to extend its missile defense to other areas. Russia and Belarus will sign an agreement creating a joint missile defense system, secretary of the Union State Pavel Borodin told journalists on October 8. He added: "Military speaking, it is virtually a shield against NATO”. Belarus has several Russian-made S-300 air defense divisions on combat duty and is negotiating the purchase of advanced S-400 systems from Russia, which will be made available by 2010. The signing of the agreement will take place on November 2.

At the same time Russia tried to present itself as a responsible global actor and nonproliferator. Its Foreign Ministry suggested that Moscow would not sell advanced anti-aircraft missiles such a S-300 to Iran, a possibility that has alarmed Israel:

We have declared more than once at the very highest political level that we do not intend to supply those types of armaments to countries located in regions that are, to put it mildly, uneasy," he said. "This is not in the interests of our country's policy or the interests of preserving stability in one region or another of the world."
© Medvedev, Topol: Reuters
© Iskander: Kommersant

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cross-blogging: Chandipur

Sean O'Connor posted on his IMINT & Analysis blog two short pieces on missile test facilities. One on the Indian Chandipur missile test complex and another one on a test facility in North Korea.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pyongyang's missile barrage

These are hard times for dictators. The financial crisis draws all the attention and also the theocracies in the Middle East steal the show from Kim Jong Il. Even the threat to restart Yongbyon left the world not in shock and awe. So it is time to take a look into the toolbox and find something to emphasize the own standing. Voila! There is something reliable: a missile test!

On Tuesday, October 7, North Korea has test-fired short-range missiles into the Yellow Sea. As it is usually the case with information coming from or about DPRK, nothing is known for sure. It is not even clear whether one or two missiles were fired but the majority of sources refer to two.

Some South Korean media said the North fired either surface-to-ship KN-01 or KN-02 missiles or Russian-designed ship-to-ship Styx missiles. The Seoul Times limits the choice of missiles to the KN-02 and the Styx. KBS reports that a South Korean military official said the missiles were not ballistic ones, but cruise-missiles, either anti-ship Styx missiles or KN-02 missiles. South Korean intelligence sources earlier on Tuesday said there were signs that the North Korean Army was getting ready to fire KN-01 and Styx from Chodo, South Hwanghae Province, where its ninth Flotilla is stationed.

Let’s take a look at these three missiles: The P-15 Termit (SS-N-2 Styx) is a Soviet anti-ship cruise missile with a range between 35 and 80km, depending on the type. The KN-01 is based on the Styx , or the essentially similar Chinese supplied HY-2 (Silkworm) missile but has its range extended to 120km. In contrast to the two aforementioned missiles, the KN-02 is a single-stage ballistic missile based on the solid-propellant guided Soviet 9K79 Tochka (SS-21 Scarab). Again, the DPRK tinkered a bit with the range and extended it to 120km.

This shows that the KBS information is contradictory in itself because the KN-02 is a ballistic! But besides that the best one could come up with is that most likely a Styx missile was launched. Probably also a KN-01. I hope that more information will come up soon.

Meanwhile, some sources were even more creative in their thinking: conflicting speculation has arisen over whether Tuesday's missile test-launch was from aircraft:

Yonhap said North Korea was believed to have used a Soviet-made Antonov AN-2 to fire two anti-ship KN-01 missiles, while some other sources raised speculation that the North fired air-to-ship missiles from an IL-28 bomber also built by Russia.
As you might have guessed given the uncertainties of the previous information, no confirmation is available for the air-launch.

South Korean officials downplayed Tuesday's firing as part of routine military drills. The North has carried out such short-range missile tests many times before, the last two tests were conducted in March and May. The U.S. Department of State has even declined to confirm the Tuesday-tests and said that it "would advise against" any short-range missile firing.

It seems that the Dear Leader was not very impressed by this warning. The South Korean Chosun Ilbo reported the North is preparing to test as many as 10 missiles in the next days. That many missiles were deployed on the country’s west coast and Pyongyang may test fire at least five of them, the newspaper said. A government source was quoted saying that the North Korean military is preparing KN-01 surface-to-ship and Styx ship-to-ship missiles. South Korean media speculated that the upcoming launches could be a firework-contribution to the South's current celebrations of the 60th anniversary of its armed forces or to the anniversary of North Korea's ruling communist party.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Missile Defense and more

Even though it is hard to believe but there are still other news besides those on the financial crisis. For example this one: the Obama-camp has expressed support for the European missile defense bases, despite Moscow’s protests that the deployments would threaten Russia. One of Obama’s senior advisers said on October 2 that “Serious conversation needs to be had with the Russians about what we’re trying to do, because it is not anti-Russian.” The other side in the presidential race has a different understanding of the purpose of the missile defense system and bluntly speaks of a new justification:

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (Ariz.) has strongly supported missile defenses to protect the United States and its allies, in addition to discussing a possibly rising threat from Moscow.
So McCain takes this position in spite of all the vehement declarations that the European GMD bases are NOT directed against Russia. The times, they are a-changin' – and so does the rhetoric.

The support for the European bases has also increased elsewhere. According to a new poll the support by the Czechs ticked up by 10 percent to an amount of 38 percent. The majority of the population, 55 percent, is still opposed. Meanwhile a speaker of the parliament in Prague said that the discussions on the ratification of the Czech-U.S. agreement may begin in November.

The shift from objection to support is even greater in Poland: support for the interceptor base rose to 41 percent in early September, compared to 27 percent in early August, before the much-disputed deal was reached. Opposition to the plan dropped to 46 percent from 56 percent, over that same time.

While the U.S. administration certainly loved to read about these new polls, there are other things that are not to their taste: a GAO report says that the United States has increasingly failed in attempts to launch mock enemy missiles for its test interceptors to destroy. The failure rate has more than double over the course of the last three year up to now 16 percent. This comes at a time at which the unit costs of the mock warheads increased eightfold up to almost US$ 50m.

The United States also spent some money on another type of missile: Washington is weary to leave the super- and hyper-sonic cruise missiles to India and Russia alone. Therefore Boeing has been awarded an $18.3 million follow-on contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to conduct a third powered flight of the HyFly hypersonic missile. The first two tests were conducted in September 2007 and January 2008, respectively. In January the HyFly boosted to Mach 3.5.

With all these expenses, Washington needs to generate some income. Therefore it is money-wise quite helpful that the United States plans to sell PAC-3 missile defense systems to Taiwan as part of a $6.5 billion armaments deal.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Developments in the Middle East

The United States deployed a X-band radar in the Negev desert in southern Israel at the end of September. With its range of 2,000km and its ability to target the warheads of long- or medium-range missiles in space the radar helps Israel to create a layered missile defense capability. Israel’s current Green Pine radar can track missiles within 800 to 1,000km. The new radar give Israel a vital extra 60-70 seconds to react if Iran fired a missile, Israeli military sources told the Time magazine. The X-band is operated by a permanent 120-strong US Army staff. The deployment is not welcomed unanimously. Time magazine reports that

One senior Israeli defense official said that while the U.S. radar would boost Israel’s defenses against potential Iranian air or missile attacks, the United States could also use it to spy on the sensitive military activities of its ally.
One top official complained: "It's a like a pair of golden handcuffs on Israel." Linked to the X-band radar are also Israeli plans to place two radar antennae near its Dimona nuclear reactor.

One “side-effect” of the radar is that it enables the U.S. to monitor aircraft in the skies over southern Russia.

Israel is not the only country in the Middle East that works on its (anti-) missile capabilities. Saudi Arabia has requested 250 AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles from the United States. In addition to that the Kingdom has also 84 Sidewinder captive air training missiles, 12 Sidewinder dummy air training missiles as well as containers and spare parts on its wishlist.

Turkey is another country that has accelerated its various missile projects. On September 25 the country's military procurement agency issued two separate tenders for the acquisition of low and medium altitude air defense missile systems, namely the Turkish Low Altitude Air Defense Missile System (T-LALADMIS) and the Turkish Medium Altitude Air Defense Missile System (T-MALADMIS). Turkey also plans to purchase up to 12 long-range air and missile defense systems (T-LORAMIDS) at a cost of $4 billion, a project for which US, Chinese and Israeli companies are competing. In order to fill gaps in its defense system, Turkey plans to acquire different types of missile systems: Russia's Rosoboronexport will provide Turkey with 80 Kornet-E medium-range anti-tank weapon systems (MRAWS) and 800 missiles, in a contract worth around $100 million. Turkey also intends to procure 107 US-built Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

one more catch-up

Excellencies,

here comes the last part of my latest attempt to catch up with the events of the recent days. After this post I can leave the fast-forward mode and switch back to normal blogging speed with more substance in the entries. But first, the last catch-up:

Japan is planning a ballistic missile defense test in cooperation with the United States in mid-November, a Defense Ministry spokesperson said. He continued that the Japanese navy personnel aboard the newly upgraded destroyer Chokai will use an SM-3 missile to try to shoot down a dummy ballistic missile in space over the Pacific near Hawaii. A few days ago Japan succeeded in using a PAC-3 land-based anti-ballistic missile interceptor to intercept a dummy missile at White Sands, New Mexico.

Meanwhile the United States is looking to bolster its own PAC-3 capabilities. Early next year, the Missile Defense Agency plans to begin testing its new longer-range interceptor for the PAC-3. The Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) is designed to double the range of today's PAC-3 interceptor. The new type is also supposed to engage targets at a higher altitude than it is possible today, projecting potential fallout from an intercept farther from forces on the ground or population centers. The MSE-producing company Lockheed Martin is currently also designing MSE variants for an air-launch boost-phase interceptor and a sea-based hit-to-kill terminal defense system.

USA Today has more on missile defense:

Congressional negotiators agreed Wednesday to allow some funding for construction next year on a site for missile defense interceptors in Poland but sharply reduced the Bush administration's request. […] The bill would cut the administration's 2009 funding request for the European project by almost $246 million out of $712 million. It would also cut the request for construction of the Polish site by $90 million out a total of about $133 million.
NTI reported earlier this week that the U.S. plans to tap deactivated Minuteman III missiles for tests:
The United States plans to use 50 decommissioned Minuteman III ICBMs in periodic tests aimed at lengthening the life of the remaining 450 nuclear-tipped weapons. […] The missiles would be modified and used in reliability tests that could extend the life of the operational missiles by 12 years, from 2018 to 2030.
The IAEA has shown documents and photographs suggesting that Iran secretly tried to modify a missile cone to carry a nuclear bomb, diplomats said. These are a new proof indicating that Iran tried to refit the long-distance Shahab-3 missile to carry a nuclear payload.

India’s progress in missile development is also worth dropping some lines: The Indian government has cleared the indigenous Agni-III ballistic missile for induction into the defense forces, Defense Ministry sources said. They continued that the production of the missile would begin at state-owned Bharat Dynamics. This deviates from DRDO statements made after the last test in May according to which said that two more tests would be required to prove the missile’s robustness.

It is reported further that Indian scientists are now developing an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 kilometers that is expected to be tested early next year. A couple of days ago India reported its progress in extending the range of its missiles by 40% which would boost the Agni-III to a range of roughly 5,000km. However, it can be expected that the Agni-V ICBM will be tested. This would confirm earlier announcements and also this article in The Hindu.

Turkey fostered its military ties with Russia. The country decided to buy 80 Kornet E (NATO designation: AT-14) laser-guided anti-tank missile systems in a $70 million deal that is Moscow's first arms sale to the NATO member in 11 years, according to a senior Russian defense industry source.

Monday, September 22, 2008

more leftovers

Here comes the second part of the catch-up of the events of the short blogging hiatus.
On the beginning of the month, Iran denied it had bought Russia's advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. Israeli experts warned that Iran could receive such a system by the end of 2008 while U.S. officials do not expect it to happen that early. However, another news piece that came up on the very same day clearly indicates that these two countries perceive Iran as a major threat: Jane’s announced that the U.S. will provide Israel with aid to face a range of emerging threats, especially long-range guided missiles from Iran or Syria. U.S. aid to the Arrow 3 program is currently planned to include US$750 million until the system 2013, when the system is expected to become operational.

There are also some news regarding the cooperation with another partner – or one might say it is pay-day. The first cash to fund Czech research stemming from Prague's agreement to host part of a US anti-missile shield should be sent by month's end, a Czech scientist told the CTK news agency in early September. US experts are at the moment sifting through a shortlist of eight projects from publicly funded research institutions and private firms in such fields as robotics, laser technology, medicine, radio-location technology, nano science and special crystals, the news agency said.

The Russian attitude towards the Polish interceptor base is well known. Moscow already floated ideas to base Iskander missiles in Belarus and Kaliningrad and target them in direction of Poland. Now this threat reached a higher level. Russia is contemplating to aim its ICBMs at the U.S. missile defense shield in Europe. The missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic and other similar facilities in the future could "be designated as targets for our ICBMs," said the commander of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov.

Should the Czech parliament reject the two agreements in the final reading in December, there might be another option for the United States to pursue: Romania wants to host a missile defense system to defend the European Union against missile attack, Romanian Defense Minister Teodor Melescanu stated. However, Romania’s offer was put strictly into a NATO-context. “In our opinion,” Melescanu said, “it would be better for the EU countries to have their own defense system”.

The Times of India reported that Bangladesh is all set to build its own missile arsenal. The caretaker government in Dhaka is in the process of clinching a deal with an integrated European company MBDA for buying OTOMAT MK-II surface-to-air missiles and five launch systems. These missiles can carry a payload of 210 kg and can hit targets 180 km away. Bangladesh conducted its maiden missile test on conducted on May 12 when it successfully test-fired land attack anti-ship cruise missile C-802A, which is a modified version of Chinese Ying Ji-802.

Indian scientists have developed path-breaking technology that has the potential to increase the range of missiles by at least 40%. This would boost the Agni-III missile to a range of 4,900km. The enhanced range is made possible by adding a special-purpose coating of chromium metal to the blunt nose cone of missiles and launch vehicles.

Friday, September 19, 2008

back online

Dear reader, I am back online and once more I will try to catch up the recent events. However, it will only be some patchwork rather than adequate coverage. I will go into greater and appropriate detail in the subsequent postings of the new events.

Here comes the first part of the catch-up:

Let’s start off with the major news: yesterday Russia successfully tested its Bulava SLBM. The missile was fired by the Dmitry Donskoy nuclear submarine off the northwest coast of Russia. The Bulava missile, which has a range of 8,000 kilometers, was first tested successfully in December 2005. The subsequent tests were unsuccessful or only partially successful.

DPRK has constructed a 10-story missile tower and launch pad, located in Pongdong-ni, a Southwestern region of North Korea. This facility may make future missile tests more realistic by providing Kim Jong-il(l)’s country with the ability to actually test the missile engine while it's in the airframe. Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., an expert with Jane’s, believes North Korea wants to use the site to develop longer-range and more accurate ICBMs. North Korea tested the engine on a Taepodong-2 long-range missile at its new missile launch test site several months ago, a U.S. official said Tuesday while another official declined this.

The future of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, seemed in doubt last year due to various problems but now the missile program called back on track. A batch of the stealthy cruise missiles was delivered in July and a contract for an additional 111 awarded in June, the development team flew 16 flight tests in four days in February, and 14 of them were successful.

The U.S. military aborted an attempt Wednesday, September 17, to shoot down an incoming missile with two interceptors after the target malfunctioned shortly after launch off the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It was the first breakdown after five successful tests of the THAAD.

Another test on that day was more successful: as part of its endeavors to build a two-layer missile shield, Japan's Air Self-Defense Force successfully test-fired a PAC-3 missile and shot down a mock ballistic missile at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in the United States. The second layer, the SM-3 interceptor system, was successfully tested in December involving a high-tech Aegis destroyer near Hawaii.

Let’s shift to our favorite missile defense system: the Czech Republic and the United States are set to sign an agreement on deploying US soldiers at the anti-missile radar today in London, an official from the Czech ministry of defense told AFP. This agreement completes an initial deal Prague and Washington signed in July to base a powerful radar system in the Czech Republic to support a battery of 10 interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland. The Czech parliament will give the two treaties a first reading in October, with a final reading expected to take place in December.

Stay tuned for the second part of the catch-up. Over and out!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Blog-out

I just want to let you know that I am taking a short blog-out. You can expect the next entry in roughly two weeks. Enjoy the last days of summer!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Russia tests a Topol missile

Last Thursday, August 28, 2008 the Strategic Rocket Forces conducted a successful launch of a Topol (SS-25) missile. You can find details – as usual – at Pavel’s Russian Forces Blog. It comes to no surprise that the missile was touted to be equipped with a “new warhead to penetrate strong missile defenses”.

Russian President Prime Minister Vladimir Putin plainly said that the test was “a direct response to harsh, unreasonable actions by NATO countries”. Another indicator for this is that it came as the European Union warned that it would consider trade and travel restrictions against Russia when its 27 leaders meet on Monday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Catch me if you can - part 2

The potpourri continues:

Russia is planning to install Iskander missiles in Syria and its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, in a response to United States missile interceptors in Poland and U.S.-Israeli military aid to Georgia, an Israeli news agency reported on Monday. Russia is furthermore reported to plan arming warships, submarines and long-range bombers in the Baltic and Middle East with nuclear warheads. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke out against the deployment of Russian missiles on Syrian territory. Admitting that Russia has “its own interests” in the Middle East, Livni added however that “no one has an interest in destabilizing the region.”

Ukraine is ready to cooperate with West on missile defense after Russia abrogated of an agreement with Ukraine on early warning and space monitoring systems in February.

Israel and the US have agreed to deploy a high- powered, early-warning missile radar in Israel. The radar will be manned by US-personnel and will be linked to a US satellite-based alert network. The new system will more than double Israel's early- warning system to 2,000 kilometers.

A National Research Council blue-ribbon panel of defense experts is recommending development and testing of a conventional warhead for submarine-launched intercontinental Trident missiles to give the president an alternative to using nuclear weapons for a prompt strike anywhere in the world. The panel recognized that the launch of a conventional SLBM could not be distinguished from a nuclear one and suggested several ways to mitigate it, but in the end it concluded that the benefits outweighed the risks. Conventional SLBM were described as "attractive in the near term".

The disarmament spokesman of the German co-governing Social Democratic Party (SPD) Rolf Muetzenich said the signing of the American GMD deal in Warsaw will further heat up the arms race. He urged to step up efforts to promote disarmament and arms control, if the US missile shield were to become a fixed component of American security policy. "Otherwise this could lead to military threats which could even go beyond the Cold War," the lawmaker stressed.

Over at the Arms Control Wonk Joshua took up the discussion about the origin of the Iranian Ashura missile. Is it Iranian-made? Is China the source? And what about India?

For those of you who have time at their hands can find a 49-page report on “Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense - Background and Issues for Congress” (dated August 11) over at the OpenCRS site.

Catch me if you can

Once again I have to catch up with the events of the recent days. So let’s start with India, which is again BrahMos-dominated:

The Indian army has ordered an additional batch of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles from the Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture, the company's CEO said without disclosing the exact size of the order. However, it was announced that the order was worth US$2 billion. A senior defense official in India, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the deal was part of a long-term agreement between BrahMos and the Indian military. With this order the total order book for the BrahMos, including supplies to other countries, could reach $10 billion.

UPI Asia Online has an article about India boosting its air force at the Indo-Chinese border. Within the next four months, a first batch of eight Su-30MKI multi-role fighters will be positioned at the Tezpur Airp Base in the Indian state of Assam. India plans to outfit the fighters with the latest BrahMos air-to-ground supersonic missiles. The serial production of these cruise missiles is planned to start after the completion of field trials next year, a top official here said.

Indian promotional materials indicate guidance improvements to the BrahMos over the original design.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Russia's reprisal options

There was no need to wait long until we get some “options” how Russia might react to the conclusion of the US-Polish agreement. RIA Novosti came up with an article by Yury Zaitsev, who is an academic adviser at the Russian Academy of Engineering Sciences. He writes that:

Russian missile defense systems will not be able to distinguish missile interceptors launched from Polish territory from ballistic missiles. Any launch of an interceptor will automatically result in retaliation, and not only at the interceptor deployment site.
This direct threat to Poland has to be seen in the light that Russia mentioned earlier that it could direct its missiles toward Poland in case it should decide to host the interceptor base.
Russia does not want to be dragged into another arms race, but it should not ignore the emerging threats. Its most obvious reply to the U.S. missile defense deployment would be equipping its Topol-M missiles with supersonic maneuverable warheads, using jammers, and reducing the boost phase of Russian missiles. It is also important to equip the armed forces with new MIRVed missiles.
Both ideas are not new. For some background information on the maneuverable warhead check the Missilethreat website. Russia is already working on MIRVed versions of the Topol-M, which are labeled RS-24. It is expected to complete the RS-24 flight tests program with the two launches scheduled for this year and, if the tests are successful, begin deployment of RS-24 in 2009.
Russia could also revive its program to develop global missiles, which could be put into near-Earth orbits and directed at enemy territory while bypassing missile defenses.
This is also a revamped idea: in the 1960’s the Soviet Union came up with the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS). After launch an ICBM would go into a low Earth orbit and would then de-orbit for an attack. The clear military benefits of this program were that the missile had no range limit and the orbital flight path would not reveal the target location. While the FOBS program did not constitute a breach of the Outer Space Treaty, the program was phased out in January 1983 in compliance with the SALT II agreement, which explicitly banned fractional orbital missiles. However, the Reagan Administration withdrew from SALT II in 1986 after accusing the Soviets of violating the pact. Therefore there are currently no international obligations that ban Russian from reanimating FOBS.
[Russia] could also deploy Iskanders, with a range of up to 500 km, there. Initially any missiles in Kaliningrad would be strictly non-nuclear, but they could be equipped with nuclear warheads when Poland hosts the interceptors.
The frequent readers of my blog know that this idea is around for a while. Considerations exist to not only deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad but also in Belarus. Back in November 2007 Minsk has announced that the missile brigade, which will be equipped with Iskanders, will be deployed in the Mogilev Region, which is near the Russian border. This would mean that the US-interceptor-base at Redizikowo Pomorskie would be out of range, namely roughly 860km away which significantly exceeds the range of 280km of the Iskander-E (export) version. Only an updated version of the Iskander could put the interceptor base into reach but this would at the same time constitute a breach of Russia’s MTCR obligations. Back in May 2007 Sergej Ivanov said in an interview after an R-500 missile test that Russia will definitely not infringe its international MTCR obligations but the extension of the Iskander missiles’ range for Russia’s own purposes is a different issue.



Yury Zaitsev came up with another recommendation for Moscow how to formulate the sought “adequate response”:
[…] reducing the number of strategic offensive arms enhances the role of missile defense systems [and] therefore, Russia should keep an adequate nuclear deterrent in the next few decades, which must become one of the most important military and political tasks.
This is no surprise either. The importance of the Russian nuclear forces was stressed quite often in the recent time. The START I treaty will expire on 5 December 2009 and the SORT-of Moscow Treaty only regulates the number of warheads deployed by 31 December 2012. This is also the day on which the treaty loses all force. From that day on Russia will not be obliged to limit its nuclear arsenal in the future unless any follow-up agreements will be concluded. However, the technical and financial means for a major nuclear weapon expansion are not given. As examples serve the slow pace of the deployment of Topol-M missiles and the numerous failed tests of the Bulava missile. One option, of course, would be MIRVing existing missiles, as already mentioned above.

These are of course all worst-case options but as things are now there is no reason to be overly optimistic that Russia and the United States will find a negotiated solution any time soon. Probably a severe plunge in the oil-price would help but this is equally unlikely to happen soon.


UPDATE: Now we could hear the first nuclear threats in the direction of Poland. General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, a staunch supporter of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, pointed out that Russian doctrine permitted the use of nuclear weapons 'against the allies of countries having nuclear weapons if they in some way help them.'

Friday, August 15, 2008

Irony and non-relatedness: Washington and Warsaw sign a GMD agreement

I love life – it is full of ironies. Read here about the latest episode: for a long time the Russian complains about the offensive nature of the two European bases of the U.S. GMD system could be heard everywhere. Russia strongly opposed the missile shield plan, which it says will undermine its nuclear deterrent and threaten its national security. It tried hard to thwart Washington’s plans using some small carrots and numerous huge sticks:

Russian officials earlier said Moscow could deploy its Iskander tactical missiles and strategic bombers in Belarus and Russia's westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad if Washington succeeded in its missile shield plans in Europe. Moscow also warned it could target its missiles on Poland.
After all this rumbling, Russia was now the main reason why Poland and the United States signed yesterday, August 14, a preliminary agreement to deploy 10 interceptors in Poland operated by US soldiers. Its tanks in Georgia gave a fresh impetus to the negotiations and led to their conclusion.

The agreement was reached after Washington had "given very serious consideration" to Warsaw's demands, i.e. it agreed to reinforce Poland's air defenses. According to the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Poland will receive 96 Patriot missiles which it can base “wherever it regards it to be of importance for its security”.

Defence Minister Bogdan Klich told the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita:
"We're also counting on the fact that getting Patriots would allow us discounts on other batteries and open the road to a more modern air defence system, like the THAAD."
In addition to that there will be two U.S. garrisons permanently based on Polish territory. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in televised remarks that "the events in the Caucasus show clearly that such security guarantees are indispensable." But his Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has a different opinion: he said “this has nothing to do with Georgia […] We agreed this negotiating phase a week ago.” You can listen to a short interview with him here. White House and State Department officials also denied that the signing of the deal was linked to events in Georgia. I beg your pardon, not linked to Georgia? C’mon. Poland probably all of a sudden realized that it made a stupid mistake by not accepting the U.S. offer at the very beginning of the negotiation-marathon. The Russian tanks in Georgia in these days and back in 1968 in Prague during the Prague Spring are certainly not related to it at all.

Anyhow, the Russian senior State Duma member Gennady Gudkov said that the deal would further divide European countries into U.S. "vassals" and those pursuing more independent policies. It would be interesting to know if he had Georgia in mind as a shining example of an independent country when he made this comment.

Besides that there has been no factual response from Russia. Probably the threats of withdrawing from the INF treaty will be tabled again. The calls for deploying Iskander missiles in Belarus will also be heard again. Earlier this month Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alyaksandr Surikov noted that Russia will not return nuclear weapons to Belarus. However, this was back in the pre-agreement age. Only a symbolical step was taken so far: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is reported to have cancelled a scheduled visit to Poland shortly after the deal was announced. But probably this cancellation has nothing to do with this trip, too.

The deal still has to be ratified by Polish parliament, the Sejm and both countries’ governments. The US-Czech agreement which was signed on July 8 also awaits ratification. Officials say the interceptor base in Poland will be opened by 2012. The radar in Brdy, Czech Republic, is scheduled to be ready in 2014.

I am eager to get some updated polls to see if the attitude of the population of the two countries has change since the Russia’s Georgia adventure. Prior to that the percentage of Czechs and Poles who oppose the hosting of the GMD components was in the low 70’s.

Friday, August 8, 2008

BrahMos A La Playa

BrahMos Aerospace said it has developed two additional air and sub-surface variants of its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. These versions come in addition to the four types India already possesses: ship-to-ship, land-to-land, land-to-ship and ship-to-land.

BrahMos Aerospace chief executive and managing director, Sivathanu Pillai, said that they are very close to the launch of the underwater version and the navy has to ready the requisite platform for the testing. I am curious to find out what kind of platform will be this time. Will India make use of its supersonic submarines or will they conduct the launch again from their underwater launcher positioned in the Bay of Bengal, from which they already launched their Sagarika back in February?

I already wrote in an earlier post about the air-version of the BrahMos. Domain-b provides now some additional insight. It reports that

the development systems were ready and the integrated test would be undertaken after mock firing. However, the launch of the air version and commercial production would take some time as certain structural modifications were yet to be made in the Russian-built Sukhoi aircraft.
Another news source quoted Sivathanu Pillai saying that “by 2009 trials for the air version of BrahMos will start and it will be ready for induction in the Air Force by 2012”.

Let’s continue with our one-man-show: Pillai said furthermore that the company would also take up BrahMos-2 project under a major expansion program to produce hypersonic missiles that could cruise at speeds of 5-7 Mach.

India is eager to speed up the production of the BrahMos. The recent acquisition of an assembly plant in the state of Kerala from Kerala Hightech Industries Ltd in addition to the main plant in Hyderabad, would allow the company to increase production to 50 BrahMos missiles a year and fulfill the army orders on schedule. You can certainly guess who spread this piece of information …. Sivathanu Pillai.

Please stay tuned for the next episode of our one-man-show "The best toys of Sivathanu Pillai".



Top image: Sivathanu Pillau (left) © The Hindu Businessline
lower infochart: © RIA Novosti

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Cobra crossed the finish line

India conducted its announced Nag-test with a delay of almost two weeks on August 5-6. The Nag missiles (Hindi for Cobra) were successfully fired on stationary and moving targets. Aviationweek.com writes:

Nag was fired from Namica, a dedicated missile carrier built by Bharat Electronics. The Nag is a two-stage solid propellant missile, and each Namica carries 12 missiles with eight in ready-to-fire mode.
The Indian army has reportedly ordered 443 Nag missiles and 13 Namicas to be put into service over the next three years. The Army is also on the verge of floating new tenders to induct another 4,000 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM). Army needs these missiles in large numbers, which is evident by acquisition of 4,000 ATGM from Russia and France recently.

According to the Defense Technology News, the Nag will also have an airborne version named Helina to be fitted on the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter, which will be configured to carry eight missiles in two launchers. The Helina would have an extended range of eight kilometres and would be ready in two-and-half years.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

upcoming Indian missile defense test

India announced that it will take another step towards developing a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system in the next few days. India conducted in November 2006 one exo-atmospheric interceptor test and in December 2007 an endo-atmospheric test. Both were successful. This time it is again an exo-atmospheric test in which India tries to intercept an MRBM in the 2,000 km range at an altitude of around 80-km. A combined endo-exo-atmospheric test is scheduled for September / October.

The Times of India quoted DRDO chief controller for missiles, V K Saraswat, who mentioned that the first component of the BMD system should be ready for deployment by 2011 or so, after several tests against a variety of missiles to ensure "a kill probability of 99.8%". Air Marshal AK Trikha comments these expectations n his read-worthy article “India’s Quest for Anti-Ballistic Missile Defence” in the Indian Defence Review:

However as seen so often before, DRDO community can not be faulted for suffering from any exaggerated sense of modesty.
If the turtles have finished their nesting and breeding by now, there should be no delays so we can see soon whether DRDO adjusts its deployment prediction or if he just “forgets” that he ever had such ambitious aims.