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India Joins BMD Club

File photo: Prithvi missile.
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Delhi, India (UPI) Nov 30, 2006
The Indian Defense Ministry announced Monday it had completed what it described as a successful test of anti-ballistic missiles off the Orissa coast. All Headline news reported From New Delhi that M. Natarajan, the scientific adviser to the Indian defence minister, told The Hindu newspaper, "With this, India has acquired the capability of air defense against the incoming ballistic missile threat. It is a significant milestone in the missile defense of the country."

"There was a lot of not only hardware but also software custom-built for this mission. They have been validated, and that is our greatest satisfaction," Natarajan told the newspaper. "The credit should go to the whole team."

Indian military officials said a target Prithvi-II missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range near Balasore. It was destroyed over the Bay of Bengal by an ABM interceptor rocket launched from Wheeler Island 40m miles away.

-0- Stark Draper Lab wins Trident II upgrade contract

The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., announced last weekend that it had received a $195.8 million contract to upgrade the Mk 6 guidance system of the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile, or SLBM for the U.S. Navy.

"Draper Lab experts will repair and recertify Mk 6 guidance systems, including pendulous integrating gyroscopic accelerometers, inertial measurement units, electronic assemblies, inertial measurement unit electronics, as well as provide repair parts and test equipment maintenance under terms of the contract awarded Nov. 22 from the U.S. Strategic Systems Program in Arlington, Va.," the laboratory said.

Draper Lab said it would also "provide tactical engineering support for the U.S. and (British) Mk 6 guidance system and study ways to reduce life-cycle cost and improve performance of the Fleet Ballistic Missile Guidance System program."

Draper Lab experts will be supported in the program by Ballistic Missile Guidance System program personnel in studies involving the Guidance Application Program and the Radiation Hardened Application Program., the statement said. The program will be carried out in Cambridge, Mass.; Pittsfield, Mass.; Andover, Mass.; El Segundo, Calif.; Clearwater, Fla.; and Woodland Hills, Calif., and it is scheduled to be competed in September 2007, the lab said. -0- Israel seeks Trophy BMD shield for its Merkavas

Israel is moving fast to try and upgrade and protect its old Merkava, or Chariot, Main Battle Tanks after so many of them were destroyed or disabled by old 1980s vintage anti-tank guided missiles, or ATGMs, in the brief Lebanon war against the Iranian supported Hezbollah, or Party of God, in July.

StrategyPage.com reported Nov. 20 that after 22 Merkavas were damaged by Russian Kornet missiles, the Israelis are now upgrading what the report described as "several dozen" Merkava 4s with the new Trophy Active Protection System, or APS.

"Trophy consists of a radar to detect incoming missiles and small rockets to rush out and disable the incoming threat. A complete Trophy system weighs a ton," StrategyPage.com said.

The report noted that Russia, as well as producing the Kornet ATGMs that proved so unexpectedly lethal to the Merkavas, also pioneered the development of the Trophy style-systems the Israelis have turned to for protection against them.

"The first one, the Drozd, entered active service in 1983, mainly for defense against American ATGMs," StrategyPage.com said. "These (U.S.-built anti-tank missiles) the Russians feared a great deal, as American troops had a lot of them, and the Russians knew these missiles ... worked. Russia went on to improve their anti-missile systems, but was never able to export many of them. This was largely because these systems were expensive (over $100,000 per vehicle), no one trusted Russian high-tech that much, and new tanks, like the American M-1, were seen as a bigger threat than ATGMs."

However, StrategyPage.com described the Israeli Trophy system as relying upon "better, more reliable, and more expensive technology than the Russian Drozd (or its successors). For about $300,000 per system, Trophy will protect a vehicle from ATGMs as well as RPGs (which are much more common in combat zones.)"

"Israel is the first Western nation to have a lot of their tanks shot up by modern ATGMs, and apparently fears the situation will only get worse," the report said.

An earlier generation of ATGMs proved deadly to Israeli armor used against well-organized Egyptian infantry in the first battles of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and Israeli losses were very heavy. The Merkava was developed as an answer to that technology and for decades appeared to be effective against it. But the July war against Hezbollah marked the first time in the past 33 years that Israeli armored forces took unanticipated significant losses from ATGMs.

The losses were particularly shocking because the missiles that Hezbollah were using were a kind that is commonly used and that has been around for nearly 20 years.

StrategyPage.com also noted that Israel previously attempted to sell the heavy and unwieldy Trophy system to the U.S. military, which wasn't interested.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
Indian Defense Ministry
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Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com

India Says First Missile Intercept Test A Success
Bhubaneswar (AFP) India, Nov 27, 2006
India said Monday that its first test of a missile designed to intercept other missiles was a success, amid its ongoing efforts to develop a home-grown ballistic interception system. The test saw a surface-to-surface Prithvi-II (earth) missile shot down over the Bay of Bengal by a similar missile fired seconds later.







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