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BMD Watch: BrahMos ALCM planned

File image - air-launched supersonic cruise missile.
by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) Oct 7, 2008
Flush with success on developing an air-launched supersonic cruise missile -- ALCM -- together, Russia and India have agreed to produce a more ambitious hypersonic one. Sivathanu Pillai, chief executive officer of the Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture, announced the project in New Delhi on Sept. 29.

"Today, at a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation, we decided to set up a working group on the development of the BrahMos-2 missile," Pillai said, RIA Novosti reported.

"The new hypersonic missile will have a top speed of over Mach 5, which would make it impossible to intercept," he said.

BrahMos was created by the Russian and Indian governments in 1998. RIA Novosti said sea- and land-based versions of its Mach-2.8 supersonic cruise missile already had been successfully developed and operationally deployed by the Indian army and navy.

Pillai said BrahMos had completed work on its air-launched cruise missile and the Indian air force already had elected the Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30 MKI Flanker-H multirole fighter as its launching aircraft.

RIA Novosti said the BrahMos cruise missile could fly 180 miles with a 660-pound warhead and could fly as low as 30 feet above the ground, making it exceptionally difficult to track and lock on radar or to shoot down. The BrahMos-2 can fly three times as fast as the subsonic U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile.

According to the report, Pillai said the company was going to be able to boost its annual production of cruise missiles to 50 a year, thanks to its recent purchase of an assembly factory in India's Kerala state from Kerala Hitech Industries Ltd. The company's main plant is located in the high-tech city of Hyderabad in southern India.

RIA Novosti said eventually the Indian government might buy as many as 1,000 cruise missiles from BrahMos for its own armed forces and sell 2,000 more to other countries around the world.

NG, Raytheon test KEI Stage 2 rocket motor
Raytheon announced that on Sept. 25 with its partner Northrop Grumman it successfully tested a Stage 2 rocket motor with an enhanced nozzle and upgraded ballistics for their Kinetic Energy Interceptor.

The company said the experiment was carried out at the Alliant Techsystems' -- ATK -- testing center in Elkton, Md. The company described the KEI as "a land-based missile defense system" armed with a new "rapid acceleration interceptor."

The system is designed to be capable of intercepting and destroying a broad spectrum of medium, intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missiles in their boost, ascent and midcourse phases of flight, Raytheon said.

"This test builds additional confidence in our booster design and demonstrates significant progress toward our first flight test in 2009," said Chuck Ross, Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president of KEI. "This firing paves the way for future tests in high-altitude environments."

Raytheon said the KEI had been constructed according to "a compact, lightweight design" to aid its rapid transfer and deployment at different sites and in different theaters of operations.

Northrop Grumman is the team leader on developing and testing the KEI for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, while Raytheon directs the interceptor development aspects of the program. Alliant Techsystems functions as Raytheon's main subcontractor on the project and is working on producing the Stage 1 and Stage 2 rocket motors for the system. The KEI team also includes Orbital Sciences to perform integration work on KEI's booster rocket and to plan for scheduled tests next year.

Boeing meets SM-3 warhead delivery target
Boeing announced Sept. 30 that it completed its first production Standard Missile-3 -- SM-3 -- kinetic warhead kit built in Huntsville, Ala., and handed it over on schedule to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy.

Over the past year Boeing has moved its missile-defense production operations from Anaheim, Calif., to Huntsville in order to boost its production capabilities. The move means all of Boeing's work on SM-3/Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense systems can be coordinated much more easily with the company's other missile-defense operations.

"The Boeing team is very proud of this accomplishment," said Debra Rub, Weapons Programs vice president for Boeing. "Establishing a new, lean production line presents many challenges, but the focus and dedication of this team ensured that our war fighters will have the reliable and accurate weapons they need."

Boeing said the Aegis SM-3 missile, which is fitted on to U.S. Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers, is a defense system against short- to medium-range ballistic-missile threats.

Boeing works with Raytheon on the Aegis SM-3 program and has subcontracts "to integrate and test the kinetic warhead avionics, guidance and control hardware and software, as well as the ejection subsystem," the company said.

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Swords and Shields: Iran's missile allies
Washington (UPI) Oct 3, 2008
Attempts to thwart Iran's missile ambitions are hampered by the fact that Tehran is being backed by Russia and China. These powers are actually partners in the Iranian ballistic missile and space programs, which they view as both geopolitically desirable -- to dilute U.S. influence -- and lucrative.

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