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US Defense Secretary Bob Gates Backs ABM Plans

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) Dec 19, 2006
Newly sworn-in U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has lost no time in signaling his determination to push ahead with full deployment of the Ground-based Midcourse Interceptor system around Fort Greeley, Alaska. Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation that he was all in favor of pushing ahead energetically with ballistic missile defense development and deployment, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Dec. 11

"I know we've spent a lot of money on developing missile defense, but I have believed since the Reagan administration that if we can develop that kind of capability, it would be a mistake for us not to," Gates said according to the report. "I think we also have an obligation to our allies in this respect."

Gates comments were important in that he is expected to face significant pressure from the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress, spearheaded by Sen. Carl Levin,. D-Mich., the incoming head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to slash costs on the Bush administration's visionary but super-expensive BMD program.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror noted that a recent Congressional Budget Office projected that the annual costs of developing the system would rise to a maximum of $15 billion in 2016. "The current year's spending will be about $10 billion," the newspaper said.

"At least 11 interceptors designed to shoot down intercontinental missiles lie in silos at Fort Greeley, 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks," the paper said. It noted that the CBO had said work on expanding the GBI program would continue until at least 2013.

Northrop Grumman unveils new air, missile defense BCS Northrop Grumman last Thursday announced it had publicly debuted its ambitious integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System to link distributed air and missile defense systems. The new system was displayed to an audience at the Association of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Symposium in El Paso, Texas.

Northrop Grumman described its new system as "a new methodology ... that will give battle commanders the ability to command an integrated force on future battlefields."

The company said the presentation was "support of the U.S. Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) program competition, which Northrop Grumman is bidding on as the prime contractor."

Northrop Grumman said procurement for its new system would be handled by the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Program Office of the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space in Huntsville, Ala.

"A request for proposals is expected in first quarter of 2007," the company said.

"Northrop Grumman's IBCS approach brings together years of battle management, command-and-control, and system-of-systems integration expertise," said Frank Moore, vice president of the Missile Defense Division at Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector.

"By closely listening to our customers' needs, Northrop Grumman has developed a solution that can give them what they most want -- an integrated, cost-effective solution that will enhance situational awareness, enable dynamic battle execution and revolutionize collaborative mission planning," Moore said.

"The hands-on, realistic nature of the demonstration showed participating warfighters just how powerful their current systems can be if they are linked into a larger net-centric network," said Rob Jassey, director of Integrated Air and Missile Defense Systems for Northrop Grumman.

"The Northrop Grumman system is modular, scalable, and adaptable to any mission to enhance the system's flexibility and maximize its usefulness to the warfighter," Jassey said.

Northrop Grumman described the IBCS as "an Army transformational program that will establish a network-centric system-of-systems solution for integrating sensors, shooters, and battle management command, control, communications and intelligence systems (BMC4I) for Army air and missile defense."

China reveals cheap new short range tac missile After 11 years in development, China has gone public with a cheap, tactical army version of its solid propellant B-611 short range ballistic missile or SBRM.

"China Aerospace Sciences and Technology Corporation (CASIC) has displayed for the first time a new version of the B-611 short-range ballistic missile, under development since 1995," the London-based Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems reported Monday.

"The solid propellant B-611 seems to have been designed for low-cost tactical army use, with a range limited to 250 km (150 miles)," Jane's said.

"A previously unknown version of this system was shown at the Zhuhai Air Show in October. This has the designation P-12, and has two missiles mounted inside a 6 x 6 wheeled vehicle," the report said.

"The P-12 missiles appear to be similar to the B-611, but with a longer cable strake. The former is also thought to be lighter and probably has a 300 kg (660 pound) high explosive fragmentation or blast warhead," Jane's said.

Related Links

Collision Course With Russia Over ABM Plans
Washington (UPI) Dec 15, 2006
There was nothing new in the warnings Russia's top general made Wednesday against U.S. plans to deploy anti-ballistic missile defense systems in Central Europe. The news was that he was repeating what he had said before.

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