Missile Defense Options In A Fractious World
The 19th annual Space & Missile Defense Symposium is underway in Huntsville, Alabama, as saber rattling by North Korea puts U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region on edge. Pyongyang conducted its fourth underground nuclear test in January and is stepping up short- and intermediate-range ballistic missile testing; nine trials have occurred since May, including one submarine launch. Meanwhile, the U.S. is continuing to expand the ballistic missile shield to protect against Russia in Europe under its so-called Phased Adaptive Approach. The first Aegis Ashore site recently started operations in Romania; one in Poland will follow in 2018. Along with the traditional showing of missile interceptors and targets, radar-makers such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are pushing a new breed of gallium nitride-based active, electronically scanned array radars. The technological advance comes as the U.S. Army looks to upgrade or replace its Patriot radar inventory and as the Air Force settles its disputed Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar development contract. Cooperation with Israel is also on show, with models of the Israel Aerospace Industries/Boeing Arrow 3 and Rafael/Raytheon Stunner missile interceptors on display.