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Monitor The Strategic Trends


Weapons Proliferation

      Modern Technology has made it possible for countries all over the world to possess the means for controlling their own populations and to threaten other nations with mass destruction. It no longer matters whether a nation is rich or poor, large or small, first world or third world. Almost anyone can make or purchase weapons that 50 years ago could not even be imagined.









Barry McGuire




Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense



Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense


Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense


China plans global satellite network to boost internet

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Sep 14, 2016
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, the nation's largest missile developer, plans to build a space-based information network that will provide global coverage. Liu Shiquan, deputy general manager of the State-owned space and defense giant, said on Monday the company will put 156 communications satellites into low Earth orbit, at an altitude of 160 to 2,000 km. Each satellite of the

Keeping a Watchful Eye on Low-Flying Unmanned Aerial Systems in Cities

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 19, 2016
Airspace for the flying public today is perpetually congested yet remarkably safe, thanks in no small part to a well-established air traffic control system that tracks, guides and continuously monitors thousands of flights a day. When it comes to small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) such as commercial quadcopters, however, no such comprehensive tracking system exists. And as off-the-shelf U

Cryptographic technique that may have applicability to future nuclear disarmament agreements

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Princeton NJ (SPX) Sep 19, 2016
A system that can compare physical objects while potentially protecting sensitive information about the objects themselves has been demonstrated experimentally at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). This work, by researchers at Princeton University and PPPL, marks an initial confirmation of the application of a powerful cryptographic technique in the

China releases alleged Canadian spy

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Montreal (AFP) Sept 16, 2016
A Canadian man arrested in China two years ago on charges of spying and stealing state secrets has been freed and is back home in Canada, his family said Thursday. Kevin Garratt was detained in 2014 along with his wife, Julia Dawn, who was later released on bail, in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, on the border with North Korea. Before their arrests, Garratt and his wife, both

Ex-Pentagon chief Gates: Trump is 'unfit,' 'beyond repair'

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 17, 2016
Former US defense secretary Robert Gates issued a sharp critique of both presidential candidates in the Wall Street Journal, but blasted Donald Trump as being "unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief." Gates - a Republican who was Pentagon chief under Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama - has worked with eight presidents and is among the most widely respected US voices

Canada to send 450 troops to Latvia

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Riga (AFP) Sept 16, 2016
Canada will send more than 450 troops to Latvia from around May 2017 as part of NATO's efforts to reinforce its presence in the Baltics in the face of a resurgent Russia. The Western defence alliance had in July endorsed the deployment of four battalions of around 1,000 troops each in Poland and the Baltic states, the largest reinforcement of its eastern flank since the Cold War. Senior

China launches second space lab: Xinhua

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Sep 16, 2016
China launched its second space lab Thursday, official media said, as the country works towards setting up its own manned space station by 2022. The Tiangong-2 blasted off just after 10:00 pm (1400 GMT) "in a cloud of smoke" from the Gobi desert, the official news agency Xinhua reported. State television CCTV broadcast images of the Long March-2F rocket's engines igniting in tandem b

Good Start for Tiangong 2

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Sep 16, 2016
The successful launch of Tiangong 2 marks a good start for the mission of China's last small space laboratory. It's also critical to the success of the space missions that will follow in its wake. Without a spaceworthy laboratory in orbit, there would be no point in launching any spacecraft slated to dock with it. It's good news for China as the nation celebrates its traditional moon festiva

Briton accused of US govt hack can be extradited: court

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 16, 2016
A British man accused of hacking into thousands of United States government computers can be extradited to the US to face trial, a court in Britain ruled Friday. Lauri Love, 31, faces a lengthy prison term if convicted of charges including hacking into the networks of the US Federal Reserve, US Army and NASA, among others in 2012 and 2013. Love's supporters said he would appeal the decis

Israel readies for 1,500 rockets a day in next war

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 16, 2016
Israel's army estimates that thousands of rockets could slam into the Jewish state in any future conflagration, military sources said Friday ahead of a nationwide civil defence drill. "Total war on several fronts, destruction of essential equipment and infrastructure and heavy rocket bombardment" all form part of the scenario for the exercise, which runs from Sunday until September 21, the a

Iraqi cleric's supporters demonstrate for reform

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 16, 2016
Several thousand supporters of populist Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrated in central Baghdad on Friday, calling for reforms that politicians have been quick to promise but slow to carry out. Iraq's government is mired in corruption, struggles to provide basic services, and positions have for years been shared out based on political and sectarian quotas that protesters have demanded b

India naval chief blames France for submarine data leak

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
New Delhi (AFP) Sept 17, 2016
A massive leak of secret technical data on Scorpene-class submarines did not originate in India but in France, Delhi's naval chief said Saturday, pointing to initial probe findings. Some 22,400 pages of classified documents detailing the combat capabilities of the subs made by French defence contractor DCNS for the Indian navy were leaked to an Australian newspaper last month. DCNS has i

Israeli missiles down rockets fired from Syria: army

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 17, 2016
Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system destroyed two rockets fired from Syria at the Israeli-held zone of the Golan Heights Saturday in an apparent rise in tension between the uneasy neighbours. "A projectile fired from Syria was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defence system. No injuries have been reported," a military statement said on Saturday afternoon. "This is the first time

US confident in election cybersecurity; UK hacker to be extradited to US

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 16, 2016
The US homeland security chief said Friday authorities have confidence in the integrity of electoral systems despite growing cybersecurity threats. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson offered his agency's assistance to state and local election authorities in protecting voting systems. Johnson's comments come amid reports of cyberattacks on Democratic Party systems and o

Third of Saudi-led strikes on Yemen hit civilian sites: report

‎Today, ‎September ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 16, 2016
More than a third of Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen have struck civilian sites including schools, hospitals and mosques, according to a survey of the conflict published in the Guardian on Friday. The findings came from the Yemen Data Project, a group of security and human rights experts, who examined more than 8,600 air raids in the campaign between March 2015 and the end of August this year

First GMLRS warhead rolls off production line

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Dallas (UPI) Sep 13, 2016
The first Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, or GMLRS, Alternative Warhead rocket has rolled off Lockheed Martin's production line in Camden, Ark., the company reported Tuesday. The warhead was designed to engage the same target set and achieve the same area-effects requirement as the old MLRS submunition warhead but without the lingering danger of unexploded ordnance, Lockheed said

Towards the workplace of the future - with virtual reality

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Bielefeld, Germany (SPX) Sep 07, 2016
Virtual reality (VR) does not just help companies save money when it comes to testing new technologies; it also enables trainees and students to quickly and intensively learn on-the-job skills (e.g. in a virtual hospital). From 8 to 9 September 2016, experts will present the latest developments and studies on augmented and virtual reali-ty at the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Techn

Falcon 9 Launch Failure

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Bethesda MD (SPX) Sep 14, 2016
On September 1st, a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle suffered a catastrophic anomaly on its launch pad (Space Launch Complex 40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The event occurred during preparation for a static firing test as part of a standard launch sequence. The actual liftoff was scheduled for September 3rd. The payload was an Israeli-owned, Amos-6, communications satellite. No one

SES orders high throughput satellite from Thales

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Luxembourg (SPX) Sep 14, 2016
SES S.A. reports the the procurement of SES-17, a powerful high throughput satellite to be built by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo-Finmeccanica (33%). SES has simultaneously entered into a long-term commercial agreement with Thales to offer FlytLIVE, a new inflight connectivity service over the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean region. SES will operate the s

Team of robots learns to work together, without colliding

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Atlanta GA (SPX) Sep 13, 2016
When roboticists create behaviors for teams of robots, they first build algorithms that focus on the intended task. Then they wrap safety behaviors around those primary algorithms to keep the machines from running into each other. Each robot is essentially given an invisible bubble that other robots must stay away from. As long as nothing touches the bubble, the robots move around without

Virgin Galactic signs Sky and Space Global as LauncherOne customer

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Paris, France (SPX) Sep 14, 2016
Commercial spaceline Virgin Galactic reports that global communications company Sky and Space Global (ASX:SAS) has signed a binding launch services agreement to purchase four dedicated missions on the LauncherOne system. Speaking at the World Satellite Business Week event in Paris, officials from the two companies revealed that these flights will enable the deployment of Sky and Space Glob

China to launch new generation of quick-response rocket in 2017

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Sep 14, 2016
The newest generation of China's homegrown quick-response rocket is scheduled to enter commercial use in 2017, a scientist with a State-owned space technology enterprise disclosed on Sept. 11. The first launch of the Kuaizhou-11, developed by the Fourth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC), is planned for 2017, said Zhang Di, head of the company's space projects de

$250 billion to supply and launch 1,450 satellites over 10 years

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 14, 2016
According to the 19th edition of the report Satellites to be Built and Launched (over the next ten years), due to be published later in September, Euroconsult anticipates that 145 satellites with launch mass over 50kg will be launched on average each year by 2025 for government agencies and commercial organizations worldwide. When including satellites smaller than 50kg and the two mega con

Bangladesh inks loan agreement with HSBC for satellite project funding

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Dhaka (XNA) Sep 14, 2016
Bangladesh has signed a 14 billion taka (about 180 million U.S. dollars) loan agreement with the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) to finance the country's first-ever satellite "Bangabandhu-I". Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), and M Mahbub Ur Rahman, deputy chief of HSBC Bangladesh, signed the agreement on behalf of th

Recycling a space antenna

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Sep 09, 2016
A decommissioned ESA ground station from Australia will be returned to service in the Azores, highlighting an innovative reuse that benefits both the Agency and European industry. In December 2015, ESA's tracking station in Perth, Western Australia, had to be closed owing to radio spectrum restrictions imposed by the national telecommunications authority. The closure comes at a time

Protective additive for Army combat uniforms being developed

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Springdale, Ark. (UPI) Sep 12, 2016
A multifunctional, nanoengineered chemical finish for possible use in U.S. Army combat uniforms is to be developed by an Arkansas technology company. NanoMech, which is partnered with the University of Arkansas, said the technology will be based in its proprietary and patent-pending technology platform, nGuard, an additive for a wide variety of textile fabrics. The additive is br

Russian Navy getting new cruise missile corvettes

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Kubinka, Russia (UPI) Sep 9, 2016
The Russian Navy is to receive additional missile corvettes from the Zelenodolsk Shipbuiding Plant under an agreement signed by the Russian Defense Ministry. The ships are of the Bayan-M class, a river/sea vessel designed by the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau. According to Tass, the Russian new agency, the vessels each displace about 1,047 tons, are 203.4 feet long and have a speed of

GenDyn demos capabilities of underwater drone

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Newport, R.I. (UPI) Sep 12, 2016
An autonomous underwater vehicle from General Dynamics has successfully launched mini-drones as part of a U.S. Navy-sponsored capability exercise. In several demonstrations, the Bluefin SandShark mini-AUVs launched by the heavy-weight Bluefin-21 surfaced and then transferred data and target imagery they had received from the larger vessel to a Blackwing unmanned aerial vehicle. T

U.S. Navy announces Littoral Combat Ship program overhaul

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
San Diego (UPI) Sep 12, 2016
The U.S. Navy last week announced an overhaul of its troubled Littoral Combat Ship program that will include turning the first four ships into test vessels. Thursday's announcement came days after the sea service announced an engineering stand-down for LCS crews following an Aug. 29 engineering casualty on the USS Coronado. That followed a main propulsion diesel engine casualty o

Leonardo to team with Algerian MOD for helicopter production

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Rome (UPI) Sep 9, 2016
Leonardo-Finmeccanica has inked a deal with Algeria's Ministry of Defense for helicopter production, the company announced Friday. The agreement will foresee the establishment of a joint company for production of three AgustaWestland light and medium helicopter types in Aïn Arnat, Algeria, Leonardo said in a statement. The helicopters can be used for missions that include transp

Q+A on Scarborough Shoal, a flashpoint in Asia

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Vientiane (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
The Philippines accused China Wednesday of secretly preparing to build an artificial island on Scarborough Shoal, a tiny and remote outpost in a contested area of the South China Sea. Doing so risks a military confrontation between China and the United States. Here are five key questions and answers about the shoal and why it is so important. - What is it? - A small ring of reefs tha

EU, Britain will need strong defence cooperation: Barnier

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
The EU and Britain will need strong defence and security cooperation after London pulls out of the bloc, according to Michel Barnier, the French politician tasked with leading the Brexit negotiations. "One thing I am sure of is, as far as defence and security matters are concerned, we must and we will need to build strong and biltateral cooperation," Barnier said Wednesday during a conferen

Trump seeks massive US military buildup, IS defeat plan

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
Donald Trump pledged to massively increase US military spending and swiftly demand a defeat plan of the Islamic State (IS) group if he becomes president, burnishing his defense bona fides Wednesday ahead of a forum with Hillary Clinton. Speaking in Philadelphia, the Republican presidential candidate told supporters that he would ask his generals within the first 30 days of his presidency to

US to give Philippines military planes: govt

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
The United States is giving the Philippines two used military aircraft, the coast guard said Wednesday, to help Manila expand sea patrols in the face of territorial disputes with China. The two Sherpa 30-seater aircraft will be delivered in December, Philippine coast guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo told AFP. "It will help us in the movements of the Philippine Coast Guard like pat

Lockheed gets $8.2 million order for presidential helicopter work

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Sep 7, 2016
Lockheed Martin Logistics Services has been awarded a $8.2 million U.S. Navy delivery order for avionics work supporting the VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Program. The order is against a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Work will involve avionics design, hardware and software development, testing fabrication, installation

What Happened to Sea Launch

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Bethesda MD (SPX) Sep 07, 2016
Sea Launch is a unique space launch system intended to be an attractive way to launch geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellites. It was developed as a multinational endeavor that uses a mobile maritime launch platform for equatorial launches of commercial payloads on a specialized Zenit-3SL launch system. The first launch took place in March 1999 with launches occurring for the next 15 years. A

Ukraine plans to deliver world's largest jet to China

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Kiev, Ukraine (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
Ukraine said on Wednesday it may deliver the world's largest jet - originally developed for the Soviet Union's abandoned space shuttle programme - to China within the next five years. The first AN-225 Mriya (Dream) six-engine heavy lifter was built by the Antonov aircraft maker in the 1980s. The company moved in 1952 from Siberia to Kiev and then fell into Ukraine's lap when the Soviet

Fugitive Snowden hid amongst Hong Kong refugees

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Hong Kong (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden sought shelter among Hong Kong refugees after he leaked a huge trove of secret documents in the southern Chinese city, reports said Wednesday. The former intelligence contractor had quit his job with the National Security Agency and travelled to Hong Kong in May 2013 where he initiated one of the largest data leaks in US history, fuelling a firest

North Korea rejects UN Security Council condemnation

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
North Korea on Wednesday rejected a UN Security Council statement condemning the reclusive state for its latest missile tests and threatening to take "further significant measures". "The DPRK categorically rejects this as an intolerable act of encroaching upon its dignity, right to existence, sovereignty and right to self-defence," a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of North Korea was quot

Peru modernizing submarines

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Kiel, Germany (UPI) Sep 7, 2016
Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems reports it is to provide engineering and technical services for the modernization of Peruvian Navy submarines. The contract from the Peruvian naval shipyard SIMA is worth about $44.7 million. Work will include consulting services during the planning and realization of modernization work on four HDW 209/1200-class submarines and technical serv

Australia threat is real, after lone wolf attacks urged

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Sydney (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
The threat of a terror attack in Australia is "real", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said after the so-called Islamic State group urged followers to target Sydney's beachside Bondi and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Responding to an English-language online magazine that singled out prominent Australian locations at which to kill people, Turnbull said it was a "disturbing reminder" of the sec

Taiwan protests over Armenia deportations to China

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
Taiwan protested Wednesday after Armenia deported 78 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China, the latest such deportation to spark a dispute with Beijing. The suspects had been held since August 26 by Armenian police, who confiscated their passports and telecom equipment while concealing their whereabouts from lawyers, according to Taiwanese authorities. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC

Syria opposition fleshes out post-Assad plan in London

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
London (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
Syria's opposition will on Wednesday set out detailed plans for the transition to a democratic state without President Bashar Al-Assad at talks in London with British foreign minister Boris Johnson. Ahead of his meeting with the broad-based High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Johnson told The Times newspaper that the proposals would include a six-month negotiating phase between the regime and

Intel to spin off cybersecurity unit McAfee

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
US tech giant Intel announced plans Wednesday to spin off its cybersecurity operations as an independent company under the name McAfee. The move comes six years after Intel announced the acquisition of McAfee, one of the leading antivirus software companies at the time. An Intel statement said the spinoff would be made with the investment group TPG, which would own 51 percent of McAfee,

GenDyn to supply U.S. Air Force with new cryptographic module

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Fairfax, Va. (UPI) Sep 7, 2016
General Dynamics Mission Systems will supply an updated Air Identification Friend or Foe system for the U.S. Air Force, the company announced Wednesday. The KIV-78 Combined Interrogator/Transponder Applique will enable ships, ground forces and other aircraft to precisely identify friendly aircraft operating in a crowded tactical airspace, GenDyn said in a statement. Deliveries of

India tests new scramjet rocket engine

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎5:15:50 AMGo to full article
New Delhi (Sputnik) Aug 31, 2016
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully tested its new scramjet engine and expects a commercial launch. This is being touted as the most cost-effective rocket engine the world has seen. With this, the ISRO, which is already the most inexpensive commercial satellite launch service provider in the world, expects to attract more customers worldwide. The test carri

U.S. Air Force conducts F-35 weapons tests

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎5:15:50 AMGo to full article
Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (UPI) Aug 30, 2016
The U.S. Air Force recently completed a monthlong weapons firing test surge for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the service announced Monday. The tests involved 25 missions including 12 weapons delivery accuracy and 13 weapon separation tests, the Air Force said in a statement. The final mission on Aug. 17 involved jets shooting two advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles at a

Obama makes final trip to China, Southeast Asia

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎5:15:50 AMGo to full article
Aboard Air Force One (AFP) Sept 1, 2016
Barack Obama begins his 11th and final presidential trip to the Asia-Pacific in earnest on Friday, visiting China to nurture what has become arguably the world's most important relationship and cementing an eight-year "pivot to Asia." After a series of US stops outside Washington, the outgoing US president jets in to the picturesque Chinese city of Hangzhou where he will take part in his fin

Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach UAS Program Leads Nation as One of First to Begin Flight Operations

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎5:15:50 AMGo to full article
Daytona Beach FL (SPX) Sep 01, 2016
The long-awaited Small Unmanned Aircraft (sUAS) rule known as Part 107 from the FAA went into effect today. Almost immediately, members from the Aeronautical Science Department from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach Campus became some of the first in the nation to begin flying, opening new doors for students and faculty in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science (UASS) progr

SpaceX to launch satellite by reusing rocket

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎5:15:50 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 31, 2016
SpaceX and satellite operator SES have agreed to launch a commercial satellite later this year by reusing a Falcon 9 rocket, the companies announced Tuesday. The launch of SES-10, which will be the first satellite sent into space on a SpaceX flight-proven rocket, was scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2016. Terms of the deal were not announced. Officials with California-based SpaceX, he





News About Ballistic Missile Defense


Lockheed Martin receives $19 million THAAD contract modification

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Aug 29, 2016 - Lockheed Martin has received a $19 million U.S. Missile Defense Agency contract modification for work on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, element of the Ballistic Missile Defense system.

The modification to the previously awarded contract increases the total value to $916 million.

Under the modification, two additional Lot 8 interceptors will be produced and associated production support efforts will be provided.

Work will be performed in Texas, Alabama and Arkansas.

THAAD provides the missile defense system with a globally transportable, rapidly deployable capability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight.

It is particularly effective against asymmetric ballistic missile threats and utilizes hit-to-kill technology wherein kinetic energy destroys the incoming warhead.



Russia's 'US Missile Defense-Killing' Hypersonic Rockets Arriving Soon

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Aug 23, 2016 - Russian defense analyst Vladimir Tuchkov analyses Russian, Chinese and American developments in hypersonic weapons technology, including the expected timeframe for their deployment, which is sooner than you may expect.

Last week, Tactical Missile Systems Corporation general director Boris Obnosov told Russian media that he was confident that Russia would be introducing hypersonic missiles capable of speeds between Mach 6 and Mach 7 by the year 2020.

The director emphasized that such weapons would significantly weaken the potential of enemy missile defense. "It's obvious that with such speeds - when missiles will be capable of flying through the atmosphere at speeds of 7-12 times the speed of sound, all [air] defense systems will be weakened considerably."

Tactical Missile Systems Corporation (KTRV by its Russian acronym) is based in Korolyev, outside Moscow. Several dozen specialized research institutes and industrial enterprises are involved in the development of Russia's hypersonic missile potential, with KTRV a leader in this area not only in Russia but also compared to defense engineering companies globally.

Obnosov's comments come on the heels of a recent speech by Admiral Cecil Haney, the Head of US Strategic Command, in which the admiral warned that American anti-missile and anti-aircraft defense systems will be virtually incapable of intercepting the Russian hypersonic systems expected to be deployed soon.

Commenting on these developments in a piece for Svobodnaya Pressa, Russian defense analyst Vladimir Tuchkov pointed out that while supersonic weapons have become a very popular topic of discussion today, their development actually began much, much earlier, going back to the Cold War.

The analyst recalled that "in the 1970s, the Raduga Design Bureau, now a part of KTRV, began research exploring the possibility of creating a cruise missile with a speed of Mach 5 or greater. At the time, the problem was little studied. Firstly, it was impossible to use ordinary turbojet engines for speeds in excess of Mach 3.

The sharp increase in air speed pressure resulted in a loss of efficiency in the engines, with a sharp rise in temperature in the combustion chamber of the air-fuel mixture also reducing efficiency. The higher the temperature, the lower the thrust. Moreover, as temperatures rose, so too did the risk of the rocket's turbine blades becoming deformed and simply melting."

"In this situation," Tuchkov noted, "the only option is the use of a ramjet engine - in this case a hypersonic scramjet. The use of a rocket engine, either liquid or solid fueled, for cruise missiles, is impossible, since the entire trajectory of the flight must be actively controlled and adjustable."

"The design of the scramjet is very simple, with the number of moving parts reduced to a minimum. Theoretically, these craft can reach speeds of up to Mach 25, although the practical ceiling of operation is about Mach 17-19. However, the scramjet also has a significant drawback - its normal operation begins at speeds exceeding Mach 3. Before this speed, it is necessary to accelerate the missile using a solid booster, or some other method, similar to the kind used to launch a high-speed aircraft."

The analyst recalled that when development of hypersonic missile technology first began in the Soviet period, one of the key problems for engineers was overheating. "It was necessary to create the kind of heat shield through which the onboard flight control equipment would continue to work flawlessly."

In the 1980s, Raduga Design Bureau created several prototypes of a new cruise missile - the Kh-90, NATO codenamed Koala. The cruise missile weighed 15 tons, had a length of 9 meters, and a 7 meter wingspan. With an expected range of up to 3,000 km, the missile had a design speed of Mach 5. "The project," Tuchkov noted, "advanced far enough for several test launches to be conducted. During the last of them, the missile reached speeds ranging from Mach 3 to Mach 4." The missile was aircraft-launched.

Of course, "all of the USSR's hypersonic weapons designs were strictly classified. It was only due to the fact that the project was closed in 1992 thanks to a lack of financing and the collapse of the defense industry in general that some information about the Kh-90 has become publically available."

After a period of stagnation in the 1990s, development resumed. Today, the analyst noted, Russia has reached a point where it has created and is actively testing at least two hypersonic systems. "This includes the 3K-22 Zircon anti-ship cruise missile, the main developer of which is the NPO Machine Building plant in Reutov, outside Moscow, which is also part of KTRV. At the same time, an export version of the missile, known as the Brahmos, is being developed for the Indian Navy."

The first information about the Zircon appeared in 2011, with testing beginning a year later. "To date, five test launches have been made...During the last launch, in March of this year, the rocket was successfully tested in normal operation mode."

Effectively, Tuchkov noted, "work on the Zircon is progressing so rapidly that the first state testing is expected to begin next year, and mass production the year after that, in 2018. In this connection, the Tactical Missile System Corporation director's forecasts about the year 2020 looks quite modest."

"Of course, he is talking about speeds of Mach 6-7, while the Zircon's design speed is 'only' Mach 5. Various estimates suggest its range may be between 400 and 1,000 km. Precise information on the engines is not available, but informed analysts suggest that acceleration is carried out via a reactive solid booster, with a scramjet used as the main engine."

Furthermore, the Zircon has already been slated for installation onboard the heavy nuclear missile cruisers - the Peter the Great and the Admiral Nakhimov. It is also expected that a new Russian nuclear submarine, codenamed Project-Husky, currently under development, will be equipped with the Zircon.

"As for Project 4202, it appears that this system will be able to meet and surpass the speeds discussed by Tactical Missiles Corporation's director. This missile too is being developed by the NPO Machine Building plant. To be more precise - this is not an independent missile, but rather a warhead onboard an intercontinental ballistic missile, which, after separation from the launch vehicle, acts like a hypersonic cruise missile would, maneuvering freely to determine direction and pitch."

According to informed estimates, Project 4202 is capable of speeds between Mach 7 and Mach 12. For this reason, Tuchkov noted, the system can overcome "not only modern means of US missile defense, but even those systems which American engineers have not even begun to develop yet."

The testing of Russia's hypersonic gliders is taking place using the tried and true RS-18B 'Stiletto' silo-based ICBMs, used to accelerate them up to the appropriate speed. "After being adopted by the military, Project 4202 will be installed aboard the new RS-28 Sarmat, and on future Russian ICBM designs. This is expected to take place between 2020 and 2025. When the expected first batch of 20 supersonic warheads is rolled out, it will effectively make the US missile defense system pointless. Every Sarmat will feature three hypersonic combat gliders."

Foreign Analogues: USA
Of course Russia is not the only country engaged in the creation of prospective hypersonic weaponry. The X-51, being developed by the Boeing Corporation under the aegis of the Pentagon's 'prompt global strike' concept, is expected to reach speeds of Mach 6-7.

Testing began in 2010, but, as Tuchkov pointed out, none of them have been deemed successful so far. Brought into the air aboard a B-52 strategic bomber, the X-51, with a range of 500 km, has clocked a maximum speed of Mach 5.1. "However, all flights ended in the destruction of the test missile before the end of its planned flight."

"Setting out on this costly project, the US positioned it as a tool for effective and lighting-speed strikes against terrorist groups. However, there is no doubt that the Pentagon also had in mind the traditional confrontation with Russia, and against a rapidly developing China. Yet the X-51, even if it is brought into mass production, will not solve the problems it was designed to handle, since the prospective Russian S-500 anti-aircraft missile system is expected to be capable of destroying hypersonic missiles."

In this sense, Tuchkov noted, the DARPA program's Falcon HTV-2 has better characteristics in terms of its speed, having been successfully clocked at Mach 20. But the vehicle was launched from near space, first carried up by rocket booster, from where it hurled back down to earth.

"In other words, there's nothing new here; the US Space Shuttles and our Buran flew in similar fashion. Following the second test, which took place in 2011, the missile was recognized as unpromising, since it was almost uncontrollable, and impossible to establish communications with."

Foreign Analogues: China
China too is actively involved in the development of hypersonic technology, beginning with its WU-14 rocket, which began testing in 2013. An average of three tests per year has taken place since then. The system's declared speed is Mach 10, although as Tuchkov pointed out, a variety of contradictory information has been circulating, estimating speeds from Mach 1.5 to Mach 7.

"Series production of the WU-14 is expected to begin in the second half of the 2020s, and it is expected to be mounted on ballistic missiles, which for the Chinese is very important. Today, only a small number of Chinese ICBMs is capable of reaching the US, giving the Pentagon the hypothetical ability to fight off a Chinese nuclear attack. For Beijing, this is not only insulting, but disadvantageous in the diplomatic competition between the powers. With the arrival of hypersonic warheads, the US is expected to 'behave' more prudently."

"Another task entrusted to the new weapon is the destruction of aircraft carriers; their defenses would be powerless against maneuverable warheads traveling at speeds of Mach 10."

Source: Sputnik News



Lockheed Martin gets $112 million Aegis modernization contract modification

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Aug 15, 2016 - Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training has received a $112 million U.S. Navy contract modification for the fiscal 2016 Aegis Modernization program.

The procurement covers the production of multi-mission signal processor equipment sets, ballistic missile defense 4.0.2 equipment, Aegis weapon system modernization upgrade equipment, as well as associated spares to support the fielding of Aegis modernization capabilities to the fleet.

Work will be performed in New Jersey, Florida and New York, and has an expected completion date of November 2018.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.

The Aegis modernization program increases the computing power of equipped ships while providing radar upgrades that improve detection and reaction capabilities against modern threats.

Lockheed Martin gets $490 million Aegis contract modification
Washington (UPI) Aug 15, 2016 - Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training has been awarded a $490 million U.S. Navy contract modification for Aegis Weapon System MK-7 work.

The previously awarded contract covers MK-7 ship sets and associated spares, engineering efforts and support equipment, as well as engineering efforts to support production, system testing, shipyard installation and related requirements.

The contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy, Japan and South Korea under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

It will specifically support the naval forces of those countries and the Navy's Arleigh Burke-class shipbuilding program.

Work will be performed in New Jersey, Florida and New York, with an expected completion date of May 2022.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.



New SBIRS ground system enters into dedicated operational testing

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Los Angeles AFB CA (SPX) Aug 10, 2016 - Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center and 460th Space Wing are pleased to announce the successful completion of the Space-Based Infrared Systems Block 10 ground system's Integrated Test and Evaluation (IT and E) phase and entry into Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE), the dedicated operational testing phase of the program.

Key development, operations and test stakeholders met to provide an accurate readiness assessment of the Block 10 ground system's ability to enter and successfully complete dedicated operational testing.

Based on stakeholder inputs, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Command began dedicated operational testing at the Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base June 12 and shifted to the backup Mission Control Station at Schriever AFB July 16.

The new Block 10 ground system consolidates operational command and control of Defense Support Program satellites, SBIRS Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting satellites and SBIRS Highly Elliptical Orbit sensors under one primary Mission Control Station at Buckley AFB, Colorado.

It also significantly increases performance capability across the four SBIRS mission areas of missile-warning, missile-defense, battlespace awareness, and technical intelligence.

"Our operators successfully completed their longest run to date on the new SBIRS Block 10 Ground weapon system. We are already seeing improvements across the board with improved surveillance and warning utilizing SBIRS Block 10 Ground," said Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander.

"I'm proud to see the 'can do' attitude and partnerships between our operations, support, contractor, and system acquisition teams.

They are knocking down obstacles and solving problems together, and rapidly building the best possible solution for advanced U.S. and allied warning as one integrated team."

"The IT and E Phase tested total system readiness, to include trained operational crews. Its successful completion is a true indicator of the new ground system's readiness for live operations," said Brig. Gen. Mike Guetlein, Remote Sensing Systems director.

"Entry into Operational Utility Evaluation is a significant milestone that demonstrates we're on track for operational acceptance this November."

The Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center manages the SBIRS Block 10 development program. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, California, is the SBIRS prime contractor, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, California, is the payload integrator. The 460th Space Wing at Buckley AFB in Aurora, Colorado, operates the SBIRS system.



Lockheed Martin gets $36 million Aegis Ashore missile defense contract

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Aug 10, 2016 - Lockheed Martin Missions Systems and Training has been awarded a $36 million U.S. Missile Defense Agency contract to install Aegis Ashore equipment in Poland.

The contract covers installation, integration and testing of Aegis Ashore equipment in a deckhouse and deckhouse support building.

Work will be performed at the Aegis site in Poland and is expected to be completed by December 2018.

The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.

Aegis Ashore is the land-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The land-based Aegis system is designed to be removable to support worldwide deployment.



The USAF's Next SBIRS Missile Warning Satellite Ships to Cape Canaveral for October Launch

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Cape Canaveral AFS FL (SPX) Aug 08, 2016 - The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin delivered the next Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Aug. 2, ahead of its October launch.

SBIRS includes a combination of satellites in GEO orbit, hosted payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), and ground hardware and software. The data provided by SBIRS enhances the military's ability to detect missile launches, supports ballistic missile defense, expands technical intelligence gathering, and bolsters situational awareness on the battlefield.

"SBIRS GEO satellites are our nation's missile warning sentinels and are critical assets to the U.S. military's continually evolving mission," said David Sheridan, vice president of Lockheed Martin's Overhead Persistent Infrared systems mission area. "With GEO Flight 3's successful testing and delivery to the launch site, we're expanding the military's ability to receive timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information."

Lockheed Martin manufactured SBIRS GEO Flight 3 at its Sunnyvale, California, facility. For its trip to Florida, the satellite was loaded aboard a C-5 Galaxy aircraft at nearby Moffett Federal Air Field. It will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The next SBIRS satellite, GEO Flight 4, is in storage and will undergo final assembly, integration and test operations prior to its planned 2017 launch. SBIRS GEO-5 and GEO-6, which are currently in production, incorporate the new modernized A2100 spacecraft to dramatically reduce costs and cycle times while increasing the potential to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites.

The SBIRS development team is led by the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, California, is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Azusa, California, as the payload integrator. The 460th Space Wing, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, operates the SBIRS system.



S. Korea's Park gets personal in US missile system row

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Aug 2, 2016 - President Park Geun-Hye on Tuesday evoked memories of her parents' assassination as she hit back at opposition to the planned deployment of an advanced US anti-missile system in South Korea.

The defence ministry announced last month that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, will be installed in Seongju -- a rural county about 200 kilometres (135 miles) southeast of Seoul -- by the end of next year.

The decision was predicated on the growing threat posed by North Korea's advancing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme.

Protesting Seongju residents have alleged that the system's powerful radar poses health and environmental hazards, while opposition lawmakers have been less than supportive of the move.

At a cabinet meeting Park voiced frustration at the objections to what she insisted was an "unchangeable" decision to deploy the system.

"If we cannot take basic defensive steps like deploying THAAD, how can we protect the country and the people?" she said in remarks posted on her official website.

"I have lost my parents in the most excruciatingly painful way. My only remaining calling is to safeguard the country and people from various threats," she added.

Park's father, the former president and military strongman Park Chung-Hee, was shot dead by his own intelligence chief in 1979.

Her mother was killed in 1974 during an earlier assassination attempt on her father by a North Korean sympathiser.

Park Geun-Hye never married or had children and once proclaimed herself wedded to the nation and its welfare.

While promising to listen to the complaints of the Seongju residents, the president warned against listening to "strange and groundless rumours rather than scientific evidence" about the THAAD deployment.

"I ask the political circle to gather their wisdom and efforts to prevent internal division and conflict," she added.

Tensions on the divided Korean peninsula have been running high since Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a series of ballistic missile tests.

North Korea has threatened to take "physical action" against the THAAD deployment, saying any South Korean ports and airfields hosting US military "hardware" would become a target.



China Mulls Ramping Up Its Missile Defense With Russia

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Beijing (Sputnik) Aug 04, 2016 - With the televised demonstration of China's latest system of intercepting incoming ballistic missiles during the intermediate stage of their flight, it looks like the People's Republic is poised to become the second country after the US to deploy a missile shield.

In an interview with Sputnik, Vasily Kashin, a Moscow-based military expert, said that in their effort to develop what may be dubbed HQ-19, the Chinese may possibly be working closely with Russia, whose S-500 Prometey missile defense system, now under development, and the strategic missile system A-235 Nudol, which is currently undergoing trials, will be able to shoot down incoming warheads even before they enter the atmosphere.

The long-range A-235 missile will have a range of up to 1,500 km and will be able to carry a nuclear warhead which will dramatically improve its ability to shoot down enemy warheads.

"What really matters here is just how many such missile defense systems China will be able to deploy and who they are going to be used against. The modern US ballistic missiles are either land or sea-based intercontinental ones the ATACMS short-range Chinese missiles will hardly be able to deal with," Kashin said.

As for Japan, Kashin said that even though it has no ballistic missiles of its own, Tokyo, with its advanced space program, could have no problem developing such missiles.

Taiwan shuttered its ballistic missile programs back in the 1990s, relying instead on cruise missiles.

South Korea's Hyunmoo ballistic missiles have limited range and pose no real threat to China.

"The deployment of a limited missile defense system will give the Chinese an edge over regional powers, like Iran, Pakistan, India and North Korea, capable of building medium-range missiles and eventually relatively primitive types of ICBMs. And it will also come as a potent means of containing the imaginary missile threat by India," Kashin added.

With the new system in place, China will also be able to shoot down US spy satellites.

Vasily Kashin said that even though the publicized tests of China's new missiles defense system were apparently meant as Beijing's answer to the deployment of US THAAD missiles in South Korea, it would hardly be able to effectively counteract the American missile shield, primarily due to the obvious US edge in the number of nuclear warheads.

"China's most probable answer to the emergence of THAAD in South Korea could be the deployment of its newly developed cruise missiles to destroy the Americans' THAAD system during the initial stage of an armed conflict," Vasily Kashin said in conclusion.

The United States and South Korea announced plans in July to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, ostensibly to counter threats from North Korea, but the move received immediate condemnation from Russia and China, who view the installation as a veiled attempt by Washington to undermine Beijing and Moscow's mutual nuclear deterrent.

Moscow immediately joined Beijing in warning the United States that the deployment would have "irreparable consequences."

Source: Sputnik News



Lockheed Martin gets $58 million Patriot missile contract modification

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Aug 2, 2016 - Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has been awarded $58 million foreign military sales contract modification to enhance Qatari and Saudi Patriot missile systems.

The U.S. Army contract modification will go toward a modification of the Patriot system missile segment enhancement software.

Work will be performed in Texas and has an estimated completion date of June 2019.

Fielded by the U.S. Army, the Patriot air and missile defense system is fielded by American and allied forces.

It contributes to an entire system's situational awareness by transmitting precision cueing data to other theater elements while simultaneously protecting against short-range ballistic missile, large-caliber rockets and air-breathing threats.



Raytheon gets $130 million missile defense contract modification

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎10:33:33 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Jul 27, 2016 - Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems has been awarded a $132 million contract modification for work on the Ballistic Missile Defense System's X-band radar.

The modification takes the total ceiling value of the deal to $1 billion.

The modification covers software maintenance, models and simulations, engineering support and test planning, execution and analysis for the X-band radar. It also covers software development.

Work will be performed in Massachusetts.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.

Raytheon's sea-based X-band radar stands more than 250 feet high on a semi-submersible oil production platform.

The floating platform, a modified oil-drilling vessel, offers stability in high winds and storms.

A power plant, bridge, control rooms, living quarters, storage space and other infrastructure support the X-band on the platform.

The radar supports the ground-based mid-course defense phase of the missile defense system.



Russia Designing Blimps Aimed at Reducing Threat of US Cruise Missiles

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:09 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jul 26, 2016 - The town of Peresvet outside Moscow is home to the testing area of an exotic type of non-lethal weapon - the aerostat. A decision on whether to include blimps into the state's 2018-2025 armament program will be made following testing, to be completed by this autumn. Military analyst Vladimir Tuchkov comments on the prospects for the battle blimps.

In his analysis, published by the independent online newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa, Tuchkov explained that the project in question is the multi-purpose mobile aerostatic complex 'Peresvet', created by the Dolgoprudnenskoe Scientific Production Plant, part of the Vega Radio Engineering Corporation.

The blimp has a length of 32 meters, and a diameter of 13 meters, with a total envelope volume of 3,000 cubic meters. Peresvet is capable of lifting a 300 kg payload to an altitude of up to 3.5 km (the length of its support cable). At the same time, the blimp can be supplied with up to 4.5 kW-worth of electrical power onboard to power its instruments.

Commenting on the aerial vehicle's capabilities, Tuchkov pointed out that information on the types of devices used on board the aerostat has not been released. "But we do know that the Peresvet is capable of solving tasks including: a) providing long-range radio communications b) monitoring large areas c) reconnaissance, including visual, infrared, radio and radiological monitoring d) serving as a long-range radar, and e) electronic warfare."

"Digressing from this particular model, high-altitude aerostats, according to Radio-Electronic Technologies Concern (KRET) deputy head Vladimir Mikheev, can be effectively used for missile defense. Doing so requires equipping the airship with a phased array antenna, which allows launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and their warheads' flight paths, to be recorded."

At present, Tuchkov noted, "this idea remains only a concept, but one entirely possible to implement. Before embarking on the creation of such ambitious programs, it will be necessary to convince the senior command of the Aerospace Defense Forces of the need to revive the country's aerostat and airship building sectors."

"Not so long ago," the analyst recalled, "during the Great Patriotic War, and in the postwar period, dirigibles were widely used in the country's system of air defense, both to monitor the skies and to repel airstrikes via air-based boundaries. Of course, these functions are no longer of any interest to anyone; the intelligence-gathering role of stratospheric balloons has proved much more enduring."

In the 1950s, the United States began sending large numbers of spy balloons (from 200-300 in the most active years) equipped with powerful cameras to Soviet territory from bases bordering the USSR. After flying over Soviet territory and taking its pictures, the aerostat would drop a container into the water, equipped with a radio beacon and a distinctive orange dye, for recovery.

"These compact balloons became a huge problem for Soviet air defense forces," Tuchkov noted. "Anti-aircraft guns could not hit the target, which flew at altitudes of up to 30 km. Interceptor aircraft also had a flight ceiling which was much lower. Hitting the balloons with air-to-air missiles was also extremely difficult," with "the huge difference in the speed of the slow flying spy probe making it difficult for pilots to accurately lock onto the target."

"Due to the extreme difficulty in destroying these probes, every pilot who managed to destroy one of these spy balloon was awarded the Order of the Red Star," a medal awarded for great contributions in the defense of the USSR.

"These air raids, which were highly effective, continued until the late 1960s, stopping after the Americans developed the U2 high-altitude spy plane, and after the USSR developed effective anti-missile weapons."

Incidentally, Tuchkov noted, the Dolgoprudnenskoe Scientific Production Plant was created in 1956 in response to the US 'aerostat strategy'. Over its history, the design bureau developed balloons and airships from as small as 4 cubic meters to as much as 3 million cubic meters, with the capacity to lift between 1.5 kg to 6.5 metric tons, and a working height between 1.5 km and 45 km, with flight duration up to 20 days.

"In the 1990s, the Plant continued its research. However, a lack of funding prevented its projects from being realized. Among the unrealized projects is a marine radar surveillance blimp, designed to explore sea-based economic zones. The project is very promising in terms of both its cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation. The airship is capable of OTH radiolocation of waters and the surrounding airspace."

The Podsolnukh ('Sunflower') OTH radar, which is significantly more expensive, has similar capabilities.

Ultimately, Tuchkov explained, there are serious advantages to the use of airships. "Airships are cheaper to use than airplanes and helicopters, not least because they are unpiloted, and use less fuel. There are even advantages compared to drones. Firstly, an airship has a greater lifting capacity, and therefore can take more equipment up with it. Secondly, the threat of accidents due to technical problems is virtually eliminated. Of course, this does not apply to aerostats equipped with hydrogen, but their use was abandoned a long time ago."

"Airships have another significant advantage: they are difficult to detect on radar due, since they contain virtually no metal parts. The Dolgoprudnenskoe Scientific Production Plant has advanced their projects' qualities in this area even further, through the use of shell materials virtually invisible to radar waves."

And the Dolgoprudnenskoe Plant is not the only player engaged in the development of aerostats for military applications. The Vladimir Region-based Augur-RosAeroSystems also has a number of interesting proposals.

One particularly impressive project is Augur's Puma blimp, which has the capability to lift a 2.2 ton payload to an altitude of 4.4 km, a flight time of up to 30 days, and a power capacity of up to 40 kW. The aerial vehicle can be equipped with a variety of equipment, including radio-electronic warfare equipment.

"Augur has also made considerable efforts in the creation of manned airships. In 2018, the company plans to test the Atlanta, set to have a 60 ton lift capacity, and a 2,000 km flight range. The company expects this project to find interest in the Ministry of Defense. Naturally, commercial exploitation is also possible."

Still, Tuchkov noted, the creation of airships for use by the military is a risky venture. In the late 2010s, the US firm Worldwide Aeros began the creation of a heavy transport airship dubbed the Aeroscraft. The Pentagon soon showed its interest, becoming the co-financer of the project, which promised to cheaply transfer heavy equipment and personnel (up to a battalion-worth) across long distances.

A prototype with a 40 ton lifting capacity made its first flight in 2013. The project came to naught when the Tustin, California hanger at which it was based collapsed in late 2013, destroying the prototype. The company began a lawsuit against the Pentagon, which soon rejected the project.

"This is not the most ambitious US military project in the field of dirigibles to have 'deflated in the air'. In the mid-2000s, DARPA, the agency specializing in the creation of breakthrough military technologies, announced an airship project with a 1,000 ton lifting capacity, and a range of 22,000 km. That project was abandoned due to the fact that the super-airship's enormous cost of development far outweighed the expected results."

Nonetheless, Tuchkov noted, "the Pentagon remains interested in the creation of an intelligence-collecting suborbital aerostats operating in the upper boundary of the stratosphere (i.e. at an altitude of about 80 km). Its interest is understandable. Such an apparatus has capabilities not much different from a satellite in low orbit, and would repay with interest, since a rocket is not required to launch the balloon."

"The only question," according to the analyst, "is whether American engineers will be able to create a stratospheric balloon in a near airless space. At present, the absolute record belongs to the Japanese, who reached a record altitude of 53 km in May 2002."

"Tethered aerostats with more modest characteristics have long been used by the US Army as observation posts, equipped with tele and infrared cameras. In the early 2010s, the Pentagon decided to strengthen its fleet of unmanned airships, incorporating them into their air and missile defense systems. Now, this initiative, under the $3 billion JLENS program, is beginning to be realized. Testing is being conducted at a US Air Force base in Maryland on customizing the vehicles for the detection of low-flying cruise missiles. They are expected to be accepted into service in 2017 or 2018."

In this sense, the analyst suggested, Russian aerostat engineers are moving in the right direction.

Source: Sputnik News



Will Russia and China Build an SCO-Based Joint Missile Defense System

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:24:09 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jul 26, 2016 - Russia and China may create a unified missile defense system for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. That's the conclusion of experts speaking at a forum dedicated to the US deployment of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea. What would the Russian-Chinese system look like? Sputnik investigates.

On Monday, experts in Moscow and Beijing spoke via video conference on the implications for regional security of the US deployment of missile defense systems in South Korea. And while the forum focused mostly on political and military implications of the THAAD deployment, experts also intrigued observers by indicating that it was possible for Russia and China to join together to create a single missile defense shield over the entirety of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the political, economic and military organization involving much of eastern Eurasia.

Regarding the THAAD deployment, Moscow has repeatedly indicated that it was categorically opposed to the move. THAAD, capable of monitoring ballistic and aerial targets at distances of up to 1,500 km, is expected to give the US military the capability to 'see' into the territory of the Russian Federation, and even further into that of China.

Speaking at the video conference on Monday, Vladimir Petrovsky, a senior researcher at the Moscow-based Center for the Studies and Forecasting of Russia-China Relations at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, explained that the potential for a joint missile defense shield exists. Moreover, such a shield would be entirely appropriate given recent US moves, from its deployment of missile shield components in Eastern Europe to the deployment of THAAD in South Korea.

"Russia and China could become the driving force in the area of missile defense. Special attention should be paid to the land-based interception systems which we have at our disposal," the analyst said.

Recently, the analyst recalled, Japan, South Korea and the United States conducted drills practicing the interception of ballistic missiles using the maritime-based US Aegis system. The appropriate response from Moscow and Beijing, according to Petrovsky, would be for the two countries' air defense forces to conduct similar joint exercises at the Ashuluk range in Russia's Astrakhan region.

Asked to comment on Petrovsky's words, experts speaking to the independent online news and analysis hub Svobodnaya Pressa indicated that a joint missile defense system was entirely within the realm of possibility.

Vladimir Evseev, the deputy director at the CIS Institute, indicated that he believes the creation of a united anti-missile defense system is definitely possible.

"Just to specify, we are talking about an anti-missile defense system, not air defense in general. In May, Russia and China staged their first joint missile defense exercises using computer simulations in Moscow. This was the first step in a plan to create a joint missile defense system. The next could be to gather real-world experience on the interception of ballistic targets, for example, at the Ashuluk range."

The expert noted that at present, China has two battalions of S-300PMU surface-to-air missile systems, two regiments of S-300PMU-1s and four regiments of S-300PMU-2s. Moreover, they have their own domestically developed SAM system - the HQ-9, created on the basis of its Russian analogues. This includes a maritime variant of the complex - the HHQ-9. "In addition, China has an analogue to the American Aegis system - built on the basis of France's Thomson-CSF TAVITA."

These systems are capable of intercepting ballistic targets at altitudes of up to 30 km and speeds of 1.5-2 km per second. Russia soon plans to supply Beijing with the S-400 Triumf; that system's basic missiles are also capable of intercepting targets at altitudes of about 30 km, but at higher precision.

Russian defense systems, in addition to the S-300 and S-400, also include the Moscow Air Defense System's A-135 missile, capable of intercepting enemy missiles at altitudes of up to 60 km.

"With regard to missile attack early warning systems (EWS), that of Russia is of course more advanced, and includes ground-based early warning radar (including the Daryal, Volga, Don-2N and Voronezh radar systems), plus the group of satellites in high elliptical and geostationary orbit."

Effectively, Evseev noted that "based on available funds, we could carry out exercises and make an attempt to intercept a ballistic target over Russian territory using joint calculations and, later on, eventually strive for the creation of collective missile defense."

"Such a move would serve as an effective response to US plans to deploy elements of missile defense in space. It is space-based ABM specifically which threatens to provide guaranteed interception - during the active phase of the missile's flight. And at this stage it is not necessary to make choices about the real targets within a cloud of decoys, as is the case when interception is carried out during the passive phase," nearer to the ground.

Ultimately, the analyst warned, if the US continues to develop its space-based missile defense components, "the only effective means against such a system would be the use of anti-satellite weapons. We know that China has tested with such systems, and we have similar designs, even if they are not widely advertised. In my view, we can only respond to Washington through the combination of military and diplomatic efforts. Diplomacy alone will not stop the construction of the US missile defense system."

For his part, Vasily Kashin, a senior researcher at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, noted that Russian-Chinese cooperation in the field of missile defense is possibile, although a full-scale joint shield is unlikely.

At the same time, Kashin indicated, "creating a collective missile defense system in the framework of the SCO is not possible by definition, given the specifics of the organization and the policies of its members. For example, a country like Uzbekistan may have its own dissenting opinion on the issue, not to mention the positions of India and Pakistan," set to join the SCO in 2017.

"As for collective missile defense between Russia and China, it is an unlikely scenario, but possible, given that cooperation in this field already exists. China is now in the process of creating an early warning system, and is developing a strategy for missile defense, including theater missile defense."

In this sense, Kashin suggested, "Beijing is naturally interested in our experience and, possibly, in an automated system of data exchange. As we know, missiles, if they begin their flight from the continental United States, will fly to Russia and China over the North Pole.

In principle, the exchange of data in the event of such a global strike may be of interest to our countries. Something of the kind has already been implemented by the US: The Americans receive real-time data from the early warning radar they sold to Taiwan, [and] the same thing seems likely with South Korea."

Still, according to the analyst, a genuine joint Russian-Chinese system of missile defense will most likely remain on the drawing board.

Source: Sputnik News



Protests as S. Korea president defends US anti-missile system

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:49 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) July 21, 2016 - Several thousand South Koreans staged an angry protest Thursday against the planned deployment of a US anti-missile system near their hometown, but President Park Geun-Hye insisted the move was a national security imperative.

South Korea's defence ministry announced last week the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, will be installed in Seongju -- a rural county about 200 kilometers (135 miles) southeast of Seoul -- by the end of next year.

The decision was predicated on the growing threat posed by North Korea's advancing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme.

But Seongju residents say the THAAD deployment makes their county a strategic target and complain that it carries health and environmental hazards.

"Let's block the deployment of THAAD, a threat to peace on the Korean peninsula!" chanted some 2,000 protestors, waving flags and banners that read 'No THAAD' as they sat outside Seoul station on Thursday.

The protestors were surrounded by hundreds of police, amid concerns of a repetition of a violent standoff last Friday, which saw Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn pelted with eggs and water bottles.

Hwang had been in Seongju to try and appease the residents, but ended up being trapped in his minivan for hours.

Thursday's protest began just hours after Park urged public support for THAAD.

"The government's decision ... was based on the judgement that it was the best way to protect our country and people from North Korean threats," Park said during a National Security Council meeting Thursday.

"If there is a better way...please let me know," Park added.

Tensions on the divided Korean peninsula have been running high since Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a series of ballistic missile tests.

On Tuesday, the North fired three ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) in an exercise aimed at simulating pre-emptive attacks on South Korean ports and airfields hosting US military "hardware".



Orbital ATK gets $182 million Missile Defense Agency contract

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:49 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Jul 21, 2016 - Orbital ATK has been awarded a $182 million U.S. Missile Defense Agency contract for the Medium Range Ballistic Missile Type 3 Configuration 2 target system.

The contract includes production equipment, logistics, associated support equipment, system engineering and analysis and mission operations.

Work will be performed in Arizona and has an estimated completion date of October 2020.

Since ballistic missiles have different ranges, speeds, size and performance characteristics, the system is an integrated, layered architecture that provides multiple opportunities to destroy missiles and their warheads before they reach their targets.



S. Korea confirms anti-missile system site

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:10:49 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) July 13, 2016 - Seoul said Wednesday an advanced US missile defence system will be deployed in a remote southern county and will have the capacity to protect two thirds of the country against feared attacks from the North.

The plan to deploy the powerful system, which fires projectiles to smash into enemy missiles, came last week after the United States placed North Korea's "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-Un on its sanctions blacklist for the first time.

The move prompted objections from Russia and China, who accused Washington of flexing its military muscle in the region.

Tensions have soared since Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a series of missile launches that analysts say show the North is making progress toward being able to strike the US mainland.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, will be deployed in Seongju county about 200 kilometres (135 miles) southeast of Seoul, as agreed by US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter and his South Korean counterpart Han Min-Koo, according to the defence ministry in Seoul.

The deployment will be completed by the end of next year and will be able to cover up to two thirds of South Korea from North Korean missiles. It will also protect key industrial facilities, including nuclear power plants and oil depots, the ministry added.

US military bases in the South will also be protected by the missile system, but Seoul and its surrounding areas will be left out. This could mean the military deploying more US Patriot anti-air and missile defence systems in these areas, Yonhap news agency reported.

There have been protests about the system's location, with residents fearing harmful economic and environmental effects.

"We hope the people and residents in Seongju... render support" for the decision, the ministry said in a statement.

But thousands took to the streets Wednesday in Seongju town, carrying banners reading "We absolutely oppose THAAD deployment", Yonhap news agency reported.

The head of the county Kim Hang-Gon and some 10 others staged a hunger strike, cut their fingers and wrote slogans in blood on banners at the Wednesday's rally.

"The THAAD deployment threatens the livelihood of the country's 45,000 residents, 60 percent of whom are engaged in watermelon agriculture", a group against the deployment said in a statement.

North Korea threatened Monday to take "physical action" against the planned deployment of the powerful anti-missile system.

The move has also angered Beijing and Moscow, which both see it as a US bid to boost military might in the region. China on Friday said the move would "seriously damage" regional security in northeast Asia.

The US and South Korea began talks on deploying the THAAD system to the Korean peninsula in February after the North fired a long-range rocket.

South Korean authorities have scrambled to allay fears over possible trade retaliations from its largest trading partner China.

Finance Minister Yoo Il-Ho told the National Assembly Wednesday he believed China will separate politics from economic affairs and is not likely to hit the South with economic sanctions over missile system deployment.



Raytheon, Lockheed report successful Patriot tests

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:29:44 AMGo to full article
White Sands Missile Range, N.M. (UPI) Jul 11, 2016 - Raytheon and Lockheed Martin each reported successful tests of the Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense system at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The tests involved the upgraded system, known as the Post-Deployment Build 8, or PDB-8, detecting, tracking and engaging a cruise missile surrogate target, Raytheon said in a statement.

Raytheon's Guidance Enhance Missile, or GEM-T, then destroyed a target, and a PDB-8 Patriot also destroyed a tactical fighter aircraft target.

The PDB-8 upgrade is expected to be fielded in 2018.

During the tests, the threats were manually engaged by soldiers using the shoot-look-shoot method of fire.

After the first interceptor was fired, Patriot soldiers watched to see if the cruise missile or aircraft was destroyed. The targets were each destroyed by the first interceptor.

As part of the PDB-8 testing, a Lockheed Martin PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, or MSE, missile successfully intercepted a full-scale air breathing target, the company said.

The PAC-3 missile is a high-velocity interceptor that uses hit-to-kill technology to defend against incoming threats that include tactical ballistic missiles, aircraft and cruise missiles.



Moscow to raise US missile shield at NATO summit

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:29:44 AMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) July 12, 2016 - Moscow said Tuesday it plans to discuss improving airspace safety over the Baltic Sea and the risks of a US missile shield in Europe at its summit with NATO this week.

The announcement comes after a string of incidents and near-misses in Baltic Sea airspace fuelled tensions between Moscow and the alliance.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow plans to raise "increasing aviation safety in the Baltic Sea region" when representatives of Russia and NATO convene in Brussels on Wednesday.

Russia's NATO-member Baltic neighbours have accused Moscow of regularly violating their airspace in recent months and flying with switched-off transponders, devices that allow radars to identify planes and prevent collisions.

President Vladimir Putin this month backed a call for all military aircraft flying over the Baltic region to keep their transponders on.

At the summit with NATO, Moscow will also "stress the risks to strategic stability that have appeared as a result of the ongoing construction of the US and NATO anti-missile system in Europe," Zakharova said.

Relations between NATO and Russia have soured since Moscow annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine in March 2014 and eastern European countries are worried that they too might be targets of Russian aggression.

NATO vowed at a summit in Warsaw last week to bolster its eastern flank to counter a resurgent Russia, agreeing to deploy four battalions in Poland and the Baltic states.

Moscow slammed the decision, accusing NATO of working to counter a "non-existent threat."

Putin said last month that Moscow will not be dragged into an arms race by NATO and accused the US-led alliance of skewering the military balance in Europe.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has meanwhile vowed to counter the NATO build-up by sending 2,000 items of new or modernised equipment to the country's western border flanking Baltic nations.



US to deploy missiles in S.Korea as North riled

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:29:44 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) July 8, 2016 - The United States is to deploy an advanced missile defence system in South Korea, the two allies said Friday, as North Korea warned US sanctions against its leader amounted to a "declaration of war".

News of the unprecedented measures targeting Kim Jong-Un came as North Korea marked 22 years since the death of its founding president Kim Il-Sung, grandfather of the current "Supreme Leader".

Tensions have soared since Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a series of missile launches that analysts said show the North is making progress toward being able to strike the US mainland.

The US and South Korea began talks on deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, to the Korean peninsula in February after the North fired off a long-range rocket.

"Based on these consultations, the (South) and the US made an alliance decision to deploy THAAD... as a defence measure to ensure the security of the (South) and its people," the allies' defence ministries said in a joint statement.

The allies have not revealed exactly when and where in South Korea the system would be deployed, saying they were in the final stages of selecting a potential venue.

The plan to deploy the powerful system, which fires projectiles to smash into enemy missiles, angered Beijing and Moscow, which both see it as a US bid to flex military muscle in the region.

Moscow said any deployment would have "irreparable consequences", while Beijing warned it would "seriously damage" regional security in northeast Asia and urged South Korea and the US to reconsider.

News of the deployment came after the US on Wednesday placed "Supreme Leader" Kim on its sanctions blacklist for the first time, calling him directly responsible for a long list of serious human rights abuses.

- 'Wartime law' -

Pyongyang lashed out at Washington on Friday, warning North Korea would instantly cut off all diplomatic channels with the US if the sanctions were not lifted.

"This is the worst hostility and an open declaration of war against the DPRK as it has gone far beyond the confrontation over the 'human rights issue,'" the foreign ministry said, using North Korea's official name.

"Now that the US declared a war on the DPRK, any problem arising in the relations with the US will be handled under the latter's wartime law," said the statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Kim, who took power four and a half years ago after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il, is the subject of a personality cult that permeates every aspect of life in the repressive state.

At midnight, Kim went to pay his respects at the giant mausoleum for his grandfather and father and during the day, thousands of sombrely-dressed party, government and military officials bowed and filed past the cases containing their embalmed bodies.

In the meticulously-manicured gardens outside the mausoleum, tens of thousands more -- including students, soldiers and office workers -- lined up to bow to giant portraits of the two Kims that dominate the facade of the building.

While the US sanctions naming Kim Jong-Un were more symbolic than substantive, the foreign ministry's angry reaction reflected North Korea's hyper-sensitivity to any personal attack on the ruling Kim family dynasty

North Korea often issues bellicose statements against the US, but the reference to "wartime law" is rare and analysts warned of more sabre-rattling to come over the sanctions.

"There will be a bombardment of diatribes from North Korea against the US as the military, government agencies and various social groups are likely to fall over themselves to prove their loyalty to Kim", Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies told AFP.

China also condemned the latest round of US sanctions, saying it opposed "public pressure, confrontation and one country's imposing unilateral sanctions on another country by citing domestic laws".

New US missile defence in South Korea: key questions
Seoul (AFP) July 8, 2016 - The United States said on Friday it would deploy a high tech missile defence system in South Korea, allowing it to fire projectiles that can smash into incoming enemy projectiles.

Here are some key questions about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, system.

Why is it being deployed?

Washington and Seoul say it is to defend South Korea from the North. While tensions on the peninsula have been high for more than six decades, relations have become increasingly strained in recent years. Pyongyang has carried out four nuclear tests as well as a series of missile launches, flexing its military muscle and making progress towards being able to strike the US mainland.

Seoul and Washington began talks on deploying THAAD in February, after the North launched a long-range rocket.

What defence does South Korea already have against the North?

Seoul already has an anti-missile defence based on the US Patriot system, but this can only target missiles at relatively low altitudes. The new system is able to hit missiles at a much greater height, making it more effective against rockets that could be carrying a nuclear warhead.

How does THAAD work?

As the "T" in the name suggests, THAAD can only intercept missiles in their terminal phase, i.e. as they move downwards towards their target, not on their way up.

It does this by using radar to detect an incoming threat, before engaging and identifying the target. Then a launcher -- which can carry up to eight interceptors -- fires a "kill vehicle" attached to the booster, which hits the incoming missile mid-air. The system can target ballistic missiles both inside and outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Why is it so controversial?

China and Russia have been saying for months that the defence system is unnecessary and would tip the balance of power in the Pacific towards the United States.

Some analysts have suggested Beijing is most concerned that THAAD would allow Washington to better track Chinese missiles in their early stages, undermining the country's nuclear deterrent.

When and where has it been used before?

The first THAAD test flight took place in 2005, according to its US-based developer Lockheed Martin. The first operational deployment was in the US island territory of Guam in 2013, and there are currently five THAAD batteries worldwide, including in the United Arab Emirates.

It is not yet clear exactly where in South Korea the system will be deployed or when it will arrive.



N. Korea threatens action over US anti-missile system

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:29:44 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) July 11, 2016 - North Korea threatened Monday to take "physical action" after Washington and Seoul announced they would deploy a sophisticated US anti-missile defence system to counter the growing menace from Pyongyang.

Seoul and Washington had on Friday revealed their decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the South following recent North Korean missile and nuclear tests.

The two allies have not yet revealed exactly when and where the system, which fires projectiles to smash into enemy missiles, would be deployed but said they were in the final stage of selecting a potential venue.

"The DPRK will take a physical counter-action to thoroughly control THAAD... from the moment its location and place have been confirmed in South Korea," the artillery bureau of the North's military said in a statement, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

North Korea's military, which has "sufficient latest offensive strike means", will take "more merciless and powerful successive corresponding measures against the US keen to ignite a war by deploying THAAD", it said.

It also warned the South of "miserable self-destruction" as a consequence of deployment of the THAAD system.

"We once again warn the enemies that it is the steadfast will of the (Korean People's Army) to make merciless retaliatory strikes to reduce South Korea to a sea in flames, debris once an order is issued," the statement said.

Seoul denounced the "ridiculous threats" by the North, which had staged serious provocations including a nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February.

"North Korea must recognise who is threatening peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and first apologise for its provocations," defence ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Gyun told reporters.

- Communications cut -

Also on Monday, the North cut all communications with the US through its office at the UN -- a rare channel of communications between the two nations that do not have official diplomatic ties.

The move was in protest at new US sanctions targeting leader Kim Jong-Un for a long list of serious human rights abuses, the first sanctions that name the leader of the isolated state.

Pyongyang had earlier slammed the sanctions on Kim as a "declaration of war" and vowed to take strong retaliatory measures.

Tensions are high since Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a series of missile launches that analysts said showed the North was making progress toward being able to strike the US mainland.

Pyongyang also test-fired what appeared to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile a day after the THAAD announcement by Seoul and Washington, sparking swift international condemnation.

Saturday's launch followed Pyongyang's back-to-back tests of powerful new medium-range Musudan missiles on June 22 -- theoretically capable of reaching US bases as far away as Guam.

The planned deployment of the powerful anti-missile system has angered the South's neighbours including China, which said Friday the move would "seriously damage" regional security in northeast Asia.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye however defended the move as a "purely defensive" action aimed at protecting the South.

"The international community will be aware that we have no intention to target or threaten another country... we are taking a purely defensive measure to protect our country and our people," Park said in a meeting with advisors.

She also urged support from South Koreans over the deployment of powerful weapon, in the face of growing protest in the areas said to be potential venues.



China protests over US deploying missile system in S.Korea

‎Wednesday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:08:25 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) July 8, 2016 - China lodged protests with US and South Korean ambassadors Friday over their countries' decision to deploy an American missile defence system to counter threats from North Korea, a move Beijing said would damage regional security.

The deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) system announced by Washington and Seoul would "will severely undermine regional strategic security and disrupt the strategic balance," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

"We strongly urge the US and the Republic of Korea to halt the deployment process," he said, adding that Beijing "has launched solemn representations with their ambassadors," without giving any more details.

The move would not aid the "denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula, he added.

China is North Korea's largest trading partner and has been its key diplomatic protector for decades.

But relations have soured over Pyongyang's nuclear tests and long-range missile launches, with Beijing supporting UN sanctions.

Still, analysts say Beijing is concerned over any build up of US power on its doorstep and values Pyongyang as a strategic bulwark, while worrying THAAD could undermine its nuclear deterrent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of "friendly relations" to a visiting North Korean official last month, even after the envoy reportedly told Chinese officials Pyongyang would continue with its internationally condemned nuclear programme.

The US and South Korea began talks on deploying the THAAD system to the Korean peninsula in February, when the North launched a long-range rocket following a fourth nuclear test in January.

They announced Friday that they had agreed to install it.

Separately, Washington this week imposed sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, calling him directly responsible for a long list of serious human rights abuses.

China condemned the move, with Hong telling a briefing Thursday that it opposed "public pressure, confrontation and one country's imposing unilateral sanctions on another country by citing domestic laws".

New US missile defence in South Korea: key questions
Seoul (AFP) July 8, 2016 - The United States said on Friday it would deploy a high tech missile defence system in South Korea, allowing it to fire projectiles that can smash into incoming enemy projectiles.

Here are some key questions about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, system.

Why is it being deployed?

Washington and Seoul say it is to defend South Korea from the North. While tensions on the peninsula have been high for more than six decades, relations have become increasingly strained in recent years. Pyongyang has carried out four nuclear tests as well as a series of missile launches, flexing its military muscle and making progress towards being able to strike the US mainland.

Seoul and Washington began talks on deploying THAAD in February, after the North launched a long-range rocket.

What defence does South Korea already have against the North?

Seoul already has an anti-missile defence based on the US Patriot system, but this can only target missiles at relatively low altitudes. The new system is able to hit missiles at a much greater height, making it more effective against rockets that could be carrying a nuclear warhead.

How does THAAD work?

As the "T" in the name suggests, THAAD can only intercept missiles in their terminal phase, i.e. as they move downwards towards their target, not on their way up.

It does this by using radar to detect an incoming threat, before engaging and identifying the target. Then a launcher -- which can carry up to eight interceptors -- fires a "kill vehicle" attached to the booster, which hits the incoming missile mid-air. The system can target ballistic missiles both inside and outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Why is it so controversial?

China and Russia have been saying for months that the defence system is unnecessary and would tip the balance of power in the Pacific towards the United States.

Some analysts have suggested Beijing is most concerned that THAAD would allow Washington to better track Chinese missiles in their early stages, undermining the country's nuclear deterrent.

When and where has it been used before?

The first THAAD test flight took place in 2005, according to its US-based developer Lockheed Martin. The first operational deployment was in the US island territory of Guam in 2013, and there are currently five THAAD batteries worldwide, including in the United Arab Emirates.

It is not yet clear exactly where in South Korea the system will be deployed or when it will arrive.



Raytheon's air and missile defense radar to be tested

‎Wednesday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:08:25 AMGo to full article
Tewksbury, Mass. (UPI) Jul 7, 2016 - Raytheon has delivered the first AN/SPY-6(V) air and missile defense radar early to the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, the company announced Thursday.

The array is now being installed in preparation for first radar light-off this month, Raytheon said in a statement, and is ready for live target tracking.

SPY-6(V) is the Navy's next-generation integrated air and ballistic missile defense radar.

The system's engineering and manufacturing development phase is now 80 percent complete, Raytheon said.

The delivery represents the latest milestone achieved on time or ahead of schedule, the company said.

Design, fabrication and initial testing of the array was completed in less than 30 months, and the system remains on track for delivery to the first DDG-51 Flight III destroyer in 2019.

SPY-6(V) is the first scalable radar using radar building blocks, each of which is a standalone radar that can be grouped to build any size radar aperature.

All the cooling, power, command logic and software are also scalable.

The radar also offers better range, sensitivity and discrimination accuracy.



Poland moves towards multi-billion-euro Patriot missile deal

‎Wednesday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:08:25 AMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) July 4, 2016 - Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz on Monday said he would ink a letter of intent with US defence firm Raytheon to buy a Patriot missile system valued at an estimated 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion).

The EU member's previous government had said in April it planned to buy the Patriot system, but soon after coming into power in November the current conservative administration placed a question mark over the purchase.

Macierewicz himself had said at the time: "The price is much higher, the delivery time much longer... in short, this contract is practically non-existent."

On Monday Macierewicz said Poland was able to move ahead with the plan because Raytheon had pledged that 50 percent of the missile system spending would be on works "done in Poland by Polish arms firms".

"That being the case, we're signing the letter of intent," Macierewicz said, quoted by the Polish news agency PAP.

He said that meant Raytheon would be the "most likely" maker of Poland's missile defence system.

The defence ministry had said in April that it wanted to acquire eight missile batteries by 2025, with two of them to be delivered within three years of signing a deal.

The Eurosam consortium including MBDA France, MBDA Italy and France's Thales Group had been the other party in the running for the missile deal.






IMDO and MDA Complete Integrated Ground Test

‎Wednesday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:08:25 AMGo to full article
Tel Aviv, Israel (SPX) Jul 07, 2016 - The Israeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in conjunction with the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the United States European Command (EUCOM) successfully conducted an Integrated Ground Test which ended on June 22nd.

The test validated the combined United States/ Israeli Missile Defense integrated architecture for the defense of Israel. The test was carried out by Elisra, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems.

The integrated architecture consisted of the Israeli Arrow Weapons System using Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors, and the David's Sling Weapon System interoperating with the United States assets consisting of Command and Control elements, Aegis ships, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot missile defense systems.

The David's Sling missile defense system, which was recently delivered to the Air Force, participated in the drill as part of its transition to becoming operational.

During the test, scenarios consisted of multiple missile and rocket attacks were simulated against Israel with both United States and Israel successfully employing, engaging and destroying the simulated incoming threats.

The test demonstrated the United States' commitment for the protection of Israel as well as the interoperability between the United States and Israeli integrated defense system architecture.



Saudi intercepts ballistic missile from Yemen: coalition

‎Wednesday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:08:25 AMGo to full article
Riyadh (AFP) July 4, 2016 - Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile that Yemeni rebels fired towards the kingdom's southern city of Abha early Monday, the Riyadh-led coalition fighting the insurgents said.

"It was intercepted with no injuries," the coalition said in a statement, adding that the missile launcher was destroyed by Saudi air defences.

It was at least the fourth ballistic missile launched across the border since UN-brokered peace talks began in Kuwait in April between Yemen's Huthi rebels and the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Fighting has continued despite a formal ceasefire in conjunction with the peace talks.

The Huthis, which Saudi Arabia says are backed by Iran, are allied with elite troops loyal to Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

They overran Yemen's capital Sanaa in 2014 before moving into other parts of the country, prompting the coalition to intervene with air strikes and other support in March last year.

Saudi Arabia has deployed Patriot missile batteries to counter tactical ballistic missiles which have been fired occasionally during the war.

The UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said on Wednesday that the warring parties were taking a two-week break from the peace talks which have made little headway.

The UN says more than 6,400 people have been killed in Yemen since March last year, most of them civilians.

Fighting has driven 2.8 million people from their homes and left more than 80 percent of the population needing humanitarian aid.

On the Saudi side of the frontier, dozens of civilians and soldiers died in skirmishes and artillery barrages earlier in the war.



Raytheon to conduct Patriot missile system diagnostics and repair

‎Tuesday, ‎July ‎12, ‎2016, ‏‎11:26:29 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Jun 30, 2016 - Raytheon has received an $11 million U.S. Army contract modification for depot-level diagnostics and repair of major Patriot missile system items.

Work will be performed in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Texas, South Korea, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany and Turkey.

The work is expected to be completed by January 2017.

The Army Redstone Arsenal is the contracting activity.

The Patriot is a long-range, high-altitude, all-weather system that can counter threats from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones and advanced aircraft.



Raytheon upgrading Kuwait's Patriot air defense system

‎Tuesday, ‎July ‎12, ‎2016, ‏‎11:26:29 AMGo to full article
Andover, Mass. (UPI) Jun 24, 2016 - Raytheon is to modernize Kuwait's Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems under a $523 million contract issued by the U.S. Army.

The Foreign Military Sales program award covers six Patriot fire units.

"Kuwait and other members of the 13-nation strong Patriot Partnership continue to invest in the system and trust Patriot to defend their citizens and militaries," said Ralph Acaba, Raytheon vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense. "Patriot is the only system in the world that is combat-proven and designed to outpace the future threat through continuous evolution."

The Patriot units will be upgraded by Raytheon to Configuration 3+, which features enhanced capability against a variety of threats, an improved identification-friend-or-foe capability and improved radar search.

The work by Raytheon is expected to be completed by 2022.

Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system for protection against cruise and tactical ballistic missiles and aircraft.



Washington hopes to wrap up anti-missile deal with SKorea

‎Tuesday, ‎July ‎12, ‎2016, ‏‎11:26:29 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) June 24, 2016 - The United States wants to wrap up discussions with South Korea on the deployment of a sophisticated defense system, the Pentagon said Friday, two days after North Korea's latest missile tests.

Seoul and Washington have for weeks been in talks about deploying the advanced US THAAD missile system in South Korea to protect against the potential threat from Pyongyang -- a move vehemently opposed by China.

"We would like to see these conversations, as I think the South Koreans would, wrapped up in an as efficient and timely fashion as possible," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.

He said discussions had "progressed well," but there were still "some details to work out."

North Korea tested two Musudan medium-range missiles just hours apart on Wednesday.

The first was seen as a failure, but leader Kim Jong-Un hailed the second as a complete success.

South Korea has had reservations about THAAD -- the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System -- primarily because of opposition from China, which sees it as a threat to its own nuclear deterrent.

Beijing also fears the presence of more US military hardware on its doorstep will further tip the balance of power in the Pacific towards Washington.

Pentagon officials spoke with South Korean and Japanese counterparts earlier on Friday to discuss the recent North Korean missile launches, Cook said.

"All three countries reiterated their strong condemnation of these launches and urged North Korea to refrain from provocative actions that undermine peace and security and instead focus on fulfilling its international obligations and commitments," he told reporters.

"The three noted that North Korea's provocations would only strengthen the resolve of the international community."

N. Korea rejects UN rebuke, warns tensions 'uncontrollable'
Seoul (AFP) June 24, 2016 - Pyongyang on Saturday rejected the UN Security Council's sharp criticism of its latest missile tests and blamed the United States for driving the divided peninsula toward an "uncontrollable extreme phase".

North Korea this week conducted its most successful tests to date of a powerful home-grown missile it hopes will one day be capable of launching nuclear attacks on the US mainland.

They drew a strong rebuke from the UN Security Council, which described the launches as "grave violations" of resolutions banning the North from developing ballistic missiles.

The 15-member council called for sanctions to be redoubled after holding an emergency meeting over the tests.

But Pyongyang rejected the criticism, calling it "a product of high-handedness wantonly violating the sovereignty of an independent state".

"This is an unreasonable deed of turning black into white," a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

North Korea has conducted a string of failed missile launches this year which, coming hot on the heels of its fourth nuclear test in January, have escalated international tensions.

At a rare congress of the ruling party in May, leader Kim Jong-Un vowed Pyongyang would push ahead with its nuclear weapons programme despite UN sanctions and near universal condemnation.

North and South Korea have technically been at war for decades, and Seoul has rejected recent overtures for peace talks with Pyongyang as an "insincere" propaganda ploy.

Saturday's KCNA statement blamed the US for ratcheting up tensions between the neighbours by sending weapons to South Korea.

"Its (the US's) sustained strategic mistake and rash deed are now driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the uncontrollable extreme phase," it warned.



Raytheon awarded $365 million Aegis contract

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) May 31, 2016 - Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems division has been awarded a $365.8 million fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee U.S. Navy contract.

The award covers production of Aegis Weapon System AN/SPY-1D(V) Radar Transmitter Group, Missile Fire Control System MK 99 equipment, as well as associated engineering services.

The contract includes options which would bring the cumulative value to $423 million if exercised.

This contract combines purchases under the Foreign Military Sales program, with the U.S. Navy paying 17 percent, South Korea paying 50 percent and Japan paying 33 percent.

The work will be performed in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia and Canada, and is expected to be completed by October 2022.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.



Lockheed receives Aegis development contract

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) May 27, 2016 - Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Training has been awarded a $62.4 million U.S. Navy contract modification for work on the Aegis combat system's development and test sites.

The exercised options include work on Aegis' technical engineering, configuration management, associated equipment and supplies, quality assurance, information assurance, and other operation and maintenance efforts pertaining to the Combat Systems Engineering Development site, SPY-1A Test Facility and the Naval Systems Computer Center.

Work will be performed in New Jersey and is expected to be completed by June 2017.

The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting authority.

Aegis is able to simultaneously attack submarines, surface ships and land targets while automatically protecting the fleet against cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and aircraft. Aegis Ashore is the land-based version of the ballistic missile defense system, with a facility recently opening in Romania.



Harris continues support services for missile defense systems

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Melbourne, Fla. (UPI) May 26, 2016 - U.S. missile warning, missile defense and space surveillance programs will continue to receive support and sustainment services from the Harris Corporation.

The work, which comes through the U.S. Air Force's exercise of contracts options, is worth a total of $106 million.

The services that will be provided to six ground-based weapons systems at 12 locations includes depot-level maintenance, repairs and upgrades, contractor logistics support and more -- to ensure the weapon systems are continually available and capable.

Additional details were not disclosed.

The Air Force in 2002 awarded Harris a five-year contract for support services in 2002. It provided for as many as 13 earned extensions. The new extension exercised is the 10th under the original contract.

US nuke force still using floppy disks: report
Washington (AFP) May 26, 2016 - America's nuclear force still uses floppy disks designed in the 1970s to coordinate some of its functions, according to a watchdog report released Wednesday.

The report by the Government Accountability Office points to a number of worryingly outdated "legacy systems" still in use across the US government that are in desperate need of upgrading.

A Pentagon command and control system that "coordinates the operational functions of the United States' nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts," runs on an IBM Series/1 computer and uses 8-inch floppy disks, the report says.

That type of computer debuted in 1976, when Gerald Ford was in the White House.

"This system remains in use because, in short, it still works," Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson told AFP.

"However, to address obsolescence concerns, the floppy drives are scheduled to be replaced with Secure Digital devices by the end of 2017," she added.

"Modernization across the entire Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) enterprise remains ongoing."

According to the GAO report, the Pentagon is planning to fully replace the system by the end of 2020.

The GAO said the federal government is spending a lot more on "operations and maintenance" of its computer systems than it is on "development, modernization and enhancement."

Last year, for instance, the government spent $61.2 billion on operations and maintenance, compared to $19.2 billion in the other category.

The report also found that the Treasury Department uses "assembly language code," which was initially designed in the 1950s.

The Office of Management and Budget has started an initiative to replace the legacy IT systems, "but until this policy is finalized and fully executed, the government runs the risk of maintaining systems that have outlived their effectiveness," the report states.



Israel successfully tests missile defence system at sea: army

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) May 18, 2016 - Israel has successfully tested a maritime missile interception system dubbed the Iron Dome of the Sea, the military announced on Wednesday.

The system, which the military said can shoot down short-range rockets similar to those fired from Gaza, successfully destroyed "several" missiles, Ariel Shir, head of operational systems in the navy, said.

He said the test, which took place two weeks ago, "proved the Israeli navy's ability to protect Israel's strategic assets at sea against short-range ballistic rockets".

During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, Israel deployed its Iron Dome system on land to shoot down rockets fired across the border.

A similar system has been in development for several years and was revealed to the public on Wednesday.

A video provided by the army showed a rocket launcher installed on a ship firing at targets in the sky and later intercepting a missile.

Shir said they had tested the system from a ship moving at speed and it had succeeded.

"The Sea Iron Dome, as we call it, can intercept threats from a moving naval ship," he said.

He added that the system was operational now, but it would take "a little bit more time" to fully integrate into the navy's systems.

Israel has a number of assets at sea, including a major offshore gas rig around 16 nautical miles from Gaza.

Hamas has previously targeted the installation unsuccessfully.

Any damage to the rig could be potentially hugely damaging to the Israeli economy, since it provides large amounts of the country's energy needs.



US missile shield in Romania goes live to Russian fury

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Deveselu, Romania (AFP) May 12, 2016 - A US anti-missile defence system in Romania aimed at protecting NATO members from threats by "rogue" nations became operational Thursday, triggering Russian fury despite US insistence it does not target Moscow.

Located in Deveselu in southern Romania, the missile interceptor station will help defend NATO members against the threat of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, particularly from the Middle East, officials said.

"Today the United States and Romania make history in delivering this system to the NATO alliance," said US commander in Europe and Africa Mark Ferguson at an inauguration ceremony with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

But Russia sees the missile system as a security threat right on its doorstep, despite the US and NATO insisting it is not aimed at undermining Moscow's defences.

"According to our experts' opinion, we are convinced that the deployment of the missile defence system is truly a threat to Russia's security," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

Relations between NATO and Moscow have sharply deteriorated since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, sparking fears among other eastern European countries that they too could be the targets of Russian aggression.

Stoltenberg said the missile installation "represents a significant increase in the capability to defend European allies against proliferation of ballistic missiles" as it becomes part of a broader NATO missile shield with an installation in Poland as well.

But he stressed that the system was not aimed at Russia and in fact was not capable of intercepting Russian missiles.

"The site in Romania as well as the one in Poland are not directed against Russia. The interceptors are too few and located too far south or too close to Russia to be able to intercept Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles," he said.

- 'Purely defensive' -

The Deveselu site will host a battery of SM-2 missile interceptors and will officially be integrated into the NATO missile shield at the bloc's summit in Warsaw in July.

Work on the site began in October 2013 and is thought to have cost $800 million (700 million euros).

The Western military alliance insists the role of the missile shield is a "purely defensive" response to external threats, notably from so-called "rogue states", having referred in the past to Iran and North Korea .

The US ambassador to NATO, Douglas Lute, has described the activation of the missile system as a gesture of his country's commitment to Article Five by which all 28 NATO members pledge a one-for-all, all-for-one response to any military threat if a member invokes the treaty clause in the face of an attack.

But Russia meanwhile is bolstering its forces to counter what defence officials said was the NATO build-up close to its borders.

"It is a step towards the military and political containment of Russia," senior foreign ministry official Andrei Kelin said of the deployment, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

Kelin warned it would "only worsen" the already-tense relations between Russia and NATO.

And Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, said he was not "convinced by NATO declarations that the American anti-missile system is not aimed at Russia".

Cited by Interfax, he also condemned "anti-missile defence systems deployed in the region, always ready for combat," and "military infrastructures moving closer to Russia's borders".

Launched in 2010, NATO's anti-missile shield system -- based essentially on US technology -- involves the progressive deployment of missile interceptors and powerful radar in eastern Europe and Turkey.

The Deveselu site is part of the second phase of the project, after the deployment of radar in Turkey and four Aegis warships with anti-missile defence capacity in the Spanish port of Rota.

The third phase involves Poland.

Work on a site in Redzikowo in the north of the country is to be completed at the end of 2018. Situated some 250 kilometres (150 miles) from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, it will host 24 land-based SM-3 missiles as well as anti-aircraft systems.




US, Russia step up war of words over missile shield

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Redzikowo, Poland (AFP) May 13, 2016 - The United States and Russia on Friday accused each other of mounting an aggressive military presence in northern Europe, with Moscow vowing to "end threats" posed by a US missile shield near its border.

The stepped-up war of words came as Poland on Friday broke ground on the northern section of a US missile defence shield launched in Romania a day earlier, which Russia slammed as a serious security threat despite US assurances to the contrary.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned Washington that Moscow will consider measures to "end threats" from the US anti-missile systems in Europe but said it would not be engaged in a new arms race.

"Now that these anti-missile elements have been installed, we will be forced to consider putting an end to the threats emerging in relation to Russia's security," Putin told defence officials in televised remarks.

US President Barack Obama hit back hours later, warning Russia about its military build-up in northern Europe, as he hosted leaders from five Nordic countries at the White House.

"We are united in our concern about Russia's growing aggressive military presence and posture in the Baltic-Nordic region," Obama said.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said last week that Moscow will set up three new divisions in the west and south of the country by the end of the year to counter NATO forces close to its border.

Relations between NATO and Moscow have sharply deteriorated since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, sparking fears among other eastern European countries that they too could be targets of Russian aggression.

- NATO European shield -

Located in Redzikowo, northern Poland, and Deveselu in southern Romania, the two US missile interceptor stations are part of NATO's larger European shield, due to become fully operational by 2018.

US and NATO officials insist the system is intended to counter the threat of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, particularly from so-called "rogue" states in the Middle East.

But with the Redzikowo station just 250 kilometres (155 miles) from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Moscow views the system as a security threat on its very doorstep.

US Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Work was on hand Friday for the start of construction on the Aegis Ashore-type missile defence facility in Redzikowo.

It will include 24 land-based SM-3 missiles as well as anti-aircraft systems.

The facility in Poland "is a US contribution to NATO missile defence," Work said at the ground-breaking ceremonies, adding that "when completed in 2018 it will be capable of defending the central and northern arc of NATO."

Work also said that "by the (NATO) Warsaw summit in July, we expect alliance leaders to declare initial operational capability for the NATO ballistic missile defence system."

"Although we joined NATO years ago, now we are seeing that NATO is truly entering Poland," Polish President Andrzej Duda said before ceremony participants took shovels in hand and began digging at the Polish air force base.

Launched in 2010, NATO's anti-missile shield system -- based essentially on US technology -- involves the progressive deployment of missile interceptors and powerful radar in eastern Europe and Turkey.

NATO and the United States said this spring that they will switch their defence doctrine from assurance to deterrence in eastern Europe in response to a "resurgent and aggressive Russia" following its annexation of Crimea.

The Pentagon said in March it would begin continuous rotations of an additional armoured brigade of about 4,200 troops in eastern Europe beginning in early 2017.

Spooked by Russian action toward Ukraine, eastern NATO members including the formerly Soviet-ruled Baltic states and Poland have lobbied the alliance to increase its presence in the region to guarantee security.



US heralds Romania missile defence system as step forward

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Bucharest (AFP) May 11, 2016 - A US missile defence system in Romania will become operational Thursday in a move welcomed by US officials as an "important step" but also one likely to infuriate Moscow.

The missile interceptor station in Deveselu, southern Romania, will help defend NATO members against the threat of short and medium-range ballistic missiles -- particularly from the Middle East, US assistant secretary of state Frank Rose told a news conference in Bucharest Wednesday.

But Russia has taken a dim view of the project, seeing it as a security threat on its doorstep.

"Both the US and NATO have made it clear the system is not designed for or capable of undermining Russia's strategic deterrence capability," Rose said.

"Russia has repeatedly raised concerns that the US and NATO defence are directed against Russia and represents a threat to its strategic nuclear deterrent. Nothing could be further from the truth."

The Deveselu site will host a battery of SM-2 missile interceptors and will officially be integrated into the NATO missile shield at the bloc's summit meeting to be held in Warsaw in July.

Work on the Deveselu site began in October 2013 and is thought to have cost $800 million (700 million euros).

US ambassador to Romania Douglas Lute described the activation of the missile system as a gesture of his country's commitment to Article Five by which all 28 NATO members pledge a one-for-all, all-for-one response to any military threat if a member invokes the treaty clause in the face of an attack.

"Tomorrow is a demonstration that the US, Romania and the other allies contributing to the defence system mean what Article Five says," he said.

NATO decided in 2010 to create a missile shield based on US technology. The project is due to be completed in 2020, with installations in Poland as well as Romania.

The Western military alliance insists the role of the planned shield is a "purely defensive" response to external threats.



Moscow seeks guarantees US missiles in Asia not to target Russia

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Bocharov Ruchei (Sputnik) May 10, 2016 - Moscow seeks legally binding guarantees that the United States' plans to deploy missile defense technologies in Eastern Asia are not directed against Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday. The United States has been in dialogue with South Korea over the proposed deployment of the THAAD system over the past year. THAAD is capable of shooting down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

"As with the European segment of the US missile defense, we are told that it is not directed against us, but we have a somewhat different assessment. And if all of this is not directed against Russia, legally binding guarantees are required," Lavrov told reporters. Moscow and Beijing consider the US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea to be a threat to Russia's and China's security.

South Korea and the United States started discussing the deployment of THAAD systems earlier in March, in response to a successful North Korean hydrogen bomb test and launch of a satellite into orbit on board a long-range rocket. Attempts by certain countries to use the North Korean nuclear issue as a pretext to increase their military presence in the region are unjustifiable and highly dangerous, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

"We, in turn, noted that despite the unity in regard to North Korea's missile and nuclear adventurism, the Russian Federation considers it absolutely unjustifiable and very, very dangerous to attempt to use this situation as an excuse to disproportionately increase military presence in the region," Lavrov said following talks between the Russian and Japanese leaders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday have dismissed North Korea's claims for a nuclear power status, Russian top diplomat Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

"They confirmed the official stance of Russia and Japan that all existing deals on removing nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula must be fulfilled. They agreed that both countries would refute Pyongyang's nuclear status ambitions," Lavrov told reporters.

The United States has been in dialogue with South Korea over the proposed deployment of the THAAD system over the past year. THAAD is capable of shooting down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. In July 2015, North Korea said it might boost its nuclear deterrent should the United States deploy a mobile missile defense system in South Korea.

Source: Sputnik News



Romania's US missile defense system has only 'symbolic' function

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) May 10, 2016 - A US ballistic missile defense (BMD) facility in Romania is largely a political gesture rather than a military initiative, according to Stratfor founder. The installation itself came online in December but only became operational after being integrated into NATO's BMD framework.

However, the military purpose of this system remains unclear as it is designed to intercept a small number of nuclear missiles and would be completely irrelevant in case of a massive nuclear strike, according to acclaimed geopolitical forecaster and founder of Stratfor global intelligence company George Friedman.

"The problem with this is that it is unclear why a country with relatively few missiles would launch a strike at all, and totally unclear why their target would be Europe," Friedman wrote at Geopolitical Futures.

While nuclear weapons were originally developed as a substitute for massed bombing attacks, the idea of a single weapon capable of wreaking so much destruction and killing so many people quickly turned it into "the embodiment of hell," he adds. And as nuclear weapons became associated with the apocalyptic end of the world, it also became clear that a world leader would have to be completely insane to use them.

"Since World War II, no nation has used nuclear weapons for any purpose. For the US in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan, nuclear weapons had no utility. Even if they had, both countries would have accepted defeat rather than use them. The empirical reality is that of all the nations that have nuclear capability, and wish ill toward their neighbor, none have used it," Friedman remarks.

Conventional wars, "waged by helicopters, armored fighting vehicles and well-trained infantry firing wire-guided missiles at tanks," are a much more probable threat than a nuclear attack, according to Friedman.

However, the US continues to display a "fixation with complex weapons designed to handle improbable threats," while Poland and Romania consider the BMD system a symbol of US commitment to protect them, the forecaster concludes.

Source: Sputnik News



China, Russia rap US missile defence plan in S. Korea

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:19:25 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) April 29, 2016 - China and Russia on Friday rapped US plans to put a missile defence system on the Korean peninsula, less than 24 hours after Pyongyang twice tested rockets thought to be capable of reaching American territory.

A series of missile tests and nuclear blasts by North Korea have pushed Seoul into talks with Washington about deploying the United States' sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD), which fires projectiles to smash into enemy missiles.

Beijing fears that the presence of more US hardware on its doorstep will further tip the balance of power in the Pacific towards Washington.

"We both are gravely concerned about the US's likely deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a briefing with his visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

"The move goes beyond the actual defence needs of relevant countries," Wang said.

"It will directly affect the strategic security of China and Russia respectively if it is deployed," he added.

Lavrov condemned Washington for using the North's tests as "an excuse, as a pretext" to deploy what he called Washington's "global antiballistic missile defence".

This week's North Korean rocket tests failed, but Pyongyang has now made three bids in two weeks to test-fly a Musudan missile, which is capable of striking US bases on the Pacific island of Guam.

"The current situation on the peninsula is indeed in a highly dangerous period," Wang said.

He added that proper implementation of UN resolutions barring the North from developing any ballistic missile-related technology is key to bringing the country to the negotiating table.

China is the North's biggest trading partner and its key aid provider.

South Korean military officials say the North is desperate to register a successful launch ahead of next week's ruling party congress, at which leader Kim Jong-Un is expected to take credit for pushing the country's nuclear programme to new heights.

In recent months, the North has claimed a series of major technical breakthroughs in developing what it sees as the ultimate goal of its nuclear drive -- an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a warhead to targets across the continental United States.

The achievements trumpeted by Pyongyang have included miniaturising a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile, developing a warhead that can withstand atmospheric re-entry and building a solid-fuel missile engine.

Last Saturday, it successfully tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile -- a move that was promptly condemned by the UN Security Council.

Lavrov also backed Beijing's stance that territorial disputes in the South China Sea "should not in anyway be internationalised" and should be resolved by direct negotiations between countries.

An international tribunal is expected to rule soon on a case brought by the Philippines over the issue, which has seen tensions mount between Beijing and Washington.

China claims nearly all the strategically vital sea, despite completing claims from Southeast Asian neighbours including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.



Army developing new air defense system

‎Sunday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎8:34:19 AMGo to full article
While Sands Missile Range, N.M. (UPI) Apr 28, 2016 - The U.S. Army has been conducting a series of tests on the capabilities of a new air defense system in development.

The system is called the Integrated Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept, or IFPC Inc 2-I, which is to protect soldiers from aircraft, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems, and artillery weapons, including rockets and mortars.

"If you go back and take a look at what has happened in terms of the threat over the last couple years you'll find that UAS systems and cruise missiles have really become a problem," said Col. Terrence Howard, program manager for Cruise Missile Defense Systems. "So we've got to introduce materiel solutions that can address multiple threats."

The IFPC Inc 2-I system under Army development is to integrate into the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense system, or AIAMD, a networked air defense control system also currently going through testing at White Sands Missile Range in N.M., for a plug-and-fight capability using multiple systems and radars on a network to address whatever threat situation is encountered.

Several tests of IFPC Inc 2-I were held this month and last to demonstrate the system's ability to launch various missile types and its ability to connect to the AIAMD system and use its Integrated Battle Command System.

The IBCS is a computer system that allows a small number of soldiers to better manage and control a complex air defense network composed of different radars and missile systems.

"(It's about) integration of a lot of existing capability," said Tamera Adams, chief engineer with the Army's Cruise Missile Defense Systems projects. "It's kind of like if you're trying to put together a new stereo system in your house. You're buying speakers from this vendor, a turntable from another and a DVD player from another. You're trying to put them together to get the best capability for your house."

The Army's Multi-Mission Launcher, or MML, mounted onto a truck, is a visible feature of the new IFPC Inc 2-I. The launcher carries 15 modular missile launch tubes on a turret system. Tubes of the MML enable allow customization of the missile load.

During the testing of the system, Hellfire Longbow and AIM-9X Sidewinders utilizing the IBCS and sensor data from a Sentinel radar unit have been fired, The MML has also conducted a ballistic test of the Miniature Hit-to-Kill missile for use against rocket, artillery and mortar threats, the Army said.

IFPC Inc 2-I is a joint collaborative effort between the Army's Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space's Cruise Missile Defense Systems Project Office and the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center.



Planned US Missile Defense Units in Asia-Pacific Threaten China, Russia

‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:55:39 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Apr 20, 2016 - The planned deployment of units of the US missile defense system in the Asia-Pacific region poses a threat to China and Russia and undermines global security, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

"The point is that if this small element becomes a part of a missile defense system across the world, then, of course, it will strike down and undermine the system of global security. In fact, it strikes down or even nullifies China's nuclear deterrent force and causes damage to strategic stability, including of the Russian Federation," Antonov told the CCTV broadcaster and the Xinhua news agency in an interview.

According to the deputy minister, Russia also takes a negative view of the fact that the United States uses its military ties with a number of states to establish a missile system on their territory.

"There are not only zero differences between China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, but there is a common position to strengthen regional peace and international security. China and Russia are not cooperating against someone in the military sphere. Our cooperation is aimed at strengthening the security of our countries, including with regard to the international obligations of China and the Russian Federation," Antonov said.

The United States has continued to expand its ballistic missile defense systems over the past year. In Europe, the United States recently installed such systems in Romania and plans to do the same in Poland in 2018.

Russia has continuously called on the international community to address the global expansion of the US missile defense shield.

Source: Sputnik News



Lockheed Martin tests Aegis on Australian destroyer

‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:55:39 AMGo to full article
Adelaide, Australia (UPI) Mar 30, 2016 - A Lockheed Martin integrated test team has started installing an Aegis combat system aboard Australia's first Hobart-class air warfare destroyer.

The team includes specialist technicians from the United States as well as technicians trained in Australia for the air warfare destroyer program.

"This milestone is a significant step towards an increase in the Royal Australian Navy's maritime security capabilities through the seamless integration of the Aegis combat system to defend against advanced air, surface and subsurface threats," said Commodore Craig Bourke, CSC, RAN Program manager, Air Warfare Destroyer. "With more than 100 Aegis-equipped ships deployed worldwide, Australia is joining a family of allied nations that continues to push the boundaries of innovation with adaptable and affordable capabilities that meet the warfighter's multi-mission needs."

Aegis is an integrated weapon that combines advanced computer and radar technology to track and guide missiles to a target.

The Aegis combat system for Australia is in the Baseline 8 configuration, which integrates commercial-off-the-shelf technology and open architecture into the combat system. It is equipped with SPY-1D(V) radar and is paired with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System.






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Session Listing

Introduction and Isaiah 1

Introduction. Case against Judah.

Isaiah 2 - 5

A Vision of the Coming Kingdom. Israel, the Lord’s vineyard. The

Nation’s Judgment and Exile.

Isaiah 6 - 7

Isaiah’s New Commission. Confederacy of Rezin and Pekah. The Sign

of the Virgin.

Isaiah 8 - 9

Overthrow of Damascus and Samaria. Christ’s Birth.

Isaiah 10 - 12

Predicted Judgment upon Assyria. A Future Kingdom.

Isaiah 13 - 14

Babylon. Babylon’s Defeat. Lucifer’s Pride and Rebellion.

Isaiah 15 -18

Moab’s Devastation. Damascus will Fall. Ethiopia.

Isaiah 19 - 22

The Doom of Egypt. A Burden about Jerusalem.

Isaiah 23 - 27

A Burden about Tyre. Isaiah’s “Little Apocalypse” Chapters.

Session Listing

Isaiah 28 - 30

Prophetic warning concerning Ephraim and Judah.

Isaiah 31 - 35

Future Kingdom Blessings. Focus on Jerusalem.

Isaiah 36 - 39

Historical Parenthesis. Hezekiah and Rabshakeh.

Isaiah 40 - 42

How Many Isaiahs? Cyrus Predicted. Jesus Christ the Servant.

Isaiah 43 - 44

God’s Blessing on His people. The Rise of Cyrus.

Isaiah 45 (and the Gap Theory)

Cyrus to Restore Jerusalem. God created the Earth “not in vain.”

 The Gap Theory.

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Babylon, the Pride of the Caldeans.

Isaiah 49 - 51

The Restoration of Israel. Vision of the Kingdom Age.

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Isaiah 52 (and Acts 8)

Messianic Theme. The Ark of the Covenant. The Ethiopian Treasurer

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Isaiah 53 (Part 1)

The Holy of Holies of the Old Testament.

Isaiah 53 (Part 2)

The Fulcrum of the Entire Universe.

Isaiah 54 - 59

Israel, the Restored Wife. Idolaters rebuked.

Isaiah 60 - 62

Sin. Kingdom Age. The Two Comings of Christ. Kingdom Blessings.

Isaiah 63

Day of Vengeance. Isaiah Prays for Redemption of Israel.

Isaiah 64 - 66

A New Wine. New Heaven and New Earth. Judgment and Hope.



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Iranium DVD

The movie Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't want you to see




Riots in the Middle East, bloodshed and the overthrow of a Dictator. Does this sound like the Middle East in 2011?  Try 1979, the year the Shah was overthrown in Iran.  Is it possible history is about to repeat itself as Islamic Fundamentalists replace the Arab dictatorships of the Arab world?  What lessons can we learn from the Iranian revolution and the threat this nation currently poses to Israel and the Western world.

In this Documentary you will be taken back to the events of 1979 and the history of terrorism and conflict that has developed since then to bring Iran on it's current nuclear path.  You will learn about the EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) threat to America, Iran's current treatment of it's own citizens and  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's obsession with the 12th Imam of Islam.

Although the Stuxnet virus may have slowed down it's nuclear program, it is only a matter of time before Iran crosses the nuclear threshold.  How will a nuclear Iran change the Middle East?  Saudi Arabia has already threatened to develop its own program (or buy one from Pakistan) in response. Iran's nuclear program could be one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century as the potential for nuclear devices to fall into the hands of terrorists increase.  This video will help you to see the emerging challenge we all face in a new urgency.  

Iran had attempted to shut down screenings of this movie in Canada but the Canadian government took a stand and showed this DVD despite the threats.  Find out why Iran is attempting to stop this movie from being seen around the world.

For a more detailed look at this DVD in relationship to current events we encourage you to watch Sean Hannity's interview with the producer here:



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