Thursday, September 25, 2008

one more catch-up


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.

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