First Air-to-Air Missile Defense System Successful in Interception of Boosting Missile

Dec. 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Riki Ellison, President of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA), informed the MDAA national membership that the fifth overall successful missile defense intercept in 66 days took place and marked the first air-based missile defense intercept, which occurred at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico . This was the first air-to-air intercept of a ballistic missile target by a missile defense system. Excerpts of his comments follow:

"Yesterday in the skies over New Mexico , a U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter launched two air-to-air (AIM-9X) missiles and successfully intercepted a boosting rocket launched from the White Sands Missile Range, marking the first time a missile defense intercept was made from an air-based platform. The two-stage air-to-air missiles have a new liquid propellant in their second stage rocket motor to provide the velocity necessary to intercept missiles in their initial boosting stage. This type of missile defense launched from a fighter jet within 100 miles of a missile launch adds more robust and redundancy to an already layered missile defense system. Not only can the AIM-9X terminate missiles in the boosting phase, it is also effective in the descent and terminal phase of a ballistic missile. This missile defense system is called the Network Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE), and can be used on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and current and future U.S. aircraft such as the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, and F-35, as well as aircraft of other countries."

"Today, our country has deployed a very limited layered missile defense system made up of land-based Patriot 3 systems that can destroy short-range missiles in their terminal phase, sea-based Aegis SM-3 missiles that can destroy short and medium range missiles in the mid-course phase and a more substantial land-based element that can destroy the faster longer-range missiles in the mid-course phase. None of these deployed systems have the capability to intercept and destroy a missile in the boost phase."

"Currently our government is investing in the future development of several boost-phase systems of which the Airborne Laser (ABL) is the primary element. It will have the capability to stand off more than 500 miles and fire multiple shots from a chemical laser at the speed of light. Other future boost phase elements include the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) with a high-acceleration booster rocket system. All of these future boost-phase missile defense systems have mobility and high velocity as the key common trait."

"It is of importance that our government continues to research, develop and test the boost-phase missile defense systems, for adding this layer can increase the effectiveness of the missile defense system as a whole and help take away today's threat of ballistic missiles and the future threat of ballistic missiles that may have multiple maneuverable warheads and sophisticated decoys."

Ellison closed his remarks on the newly declassified portion of the latest National Intelligence Estimate involving Iran: " Iran remains a threat, a growing threat and a future threat to our allies, our armed forces and our national security. You need not go further than to ask Saudi Arabia , Kuwait , United Arab Emirates , Israel and Persian Gulf countries on the credibility of the Iranian threat. Iran has built hundreds of ballistic missiles, deployed them, tested them and threatened them as well as leveraged them politically in their own country and internationally. The National Intelligence Estimate was quoted in Congressional Testimony earlier this year that Iran's ballistic missile force barring significant changes in political orientation could be capable of threatening the United States before 2015. The United States and the international community must continue to find ways to reduce, deter and dissuade the threat that Iran has now and in the future. To not do so adds international instability and vulnerability to be coerced and threatened. We as a country cannot rely on military preemptive operations that result in American and international bloodshed as the only option to deal with the future and growing threat from Iran ."

Call Mike Terrill at 602 885-1955 to arrange an interview with Riki Ellison.

SOURCE Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

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