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MDA moves closer to Launch on Remote

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posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 12:10 PM
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On October 17th, the Missile Defense Agency moved closer to the ability to launch Aegis BMD interceptors without using the ships own SPY-1 radar. Flight test FTX-20, which did not involve an actual interceptor, involved a missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range at Barking Sands Kauai. The USS John Paul Jones acted as the simulated launch platform for the test.

After the launch from Barking Sands, an MQ-9 Reaper, orbiting at 40,000 feet, using a Raytheon MTS-B (Multispectral Targeting Sensor), and two ground stations on Makaha Ridge, using upgraded MTS-C sensors, were able to track the missile, and get enough data that the Jones would have been able to launch an interceptor using the data from the sensors.

The MTS-C sensor is designed to track an object at launch, when its hotttest, and continue tracking all the way into orbit. All three sensors tracked the missile for 9 minutes from launch. The system eventually aims for both Launch on Remote, and Engage on Remote.


The most recent Missile Defense Agency (MDA) trial last month for the Aegis ballistic missile defense system is moving the agency closer to proving that airborne infrared sensors can be used to cue a ballistic target intercept.

The agency’s ultimate goal is to integrate the disparate elements of a vast ballistic missile defense system—including satellites, airborne infrared data and ground- and ship-based radars—into a single system of sensors and shooters functioning seamlessly. A product of this architecture would be to “launch on remote” and eventually “engage on remote.”

By launching on remote, an interceptor would be fired at a target based on offboard data—in this case, without the USS John Paul Jones Aegis destroyer’s own SPY-1 S-band radar acquiring the target. Once airborne, the host system, the SPY-1, would acquire the target and aid the interceptor as it heads for a kill.

aviationweek.com...




posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 12:19 PM
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Against who is this going to be used?
Against what is this going to be used?



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 12:23 PM
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a reply to: Trueman

It's designed to defend against theater/medium range ballistic missiles, such as the Scud missile, or missiles similar to it. It's similar to the Patriot system, but based on an Aegis ship, and more effective.
edit on 11/9/2014 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

edit on 11/9/2014 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 02:13 PM
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So if I understand this correctly:

1. The existing missile defense systems require the use of the launching platform's radar to target an incoming missile with the interceptor missile. So the launching platform must acquire the target before the interceptor launch, and then directs the interceptor to the target missile. However, the range of the launching platform's radar is limited by the curvature of the Earth.

2. The launch-on-remote option allows an array of sensors based elsewhere, not on the launching platform, to initiate targeting and launch the missile before the launching platform can acquire the target. Once the interceptor is launched, the launching platform then acquires the target and directs the interceptor.

3. The engage-on-remote option builds on the the launch-on-remote option by offloading the tracking and directing operations from the launch platform. The interceptor is then directed by the off-board sensor array. The launching platform never has to acquire the missile target.

4. The advantage of these missile defense system enhancements is the ability to target an incoming missile soon after launch, long before it comes into range of the launching platform's radar. This advantage gives the operators the option of firing more interceptors in case the first interceptor misses. Because the off-board sensor array can acquire the target before it is in range of the launching platform's radar, there is more time to intercept the missile, thus increasing the probability of a successful kill.

Is that a plausible summary?


Dex



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 02:14 PM
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a reply to: DexterRiley

That's pretty much exactly it.



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 02:39 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So, theoretically this entire process could be handled automatically without any human intervention at all. A drone sea-based launch platform and the interceptor missile receive command and control information from unmanned drone aircraft, unmanned satellites, and other unmanned sensor platforms to kill incoming missiles.

That's both very cool and somewhat frightening. The coolness is obvious. The frightening part is that we're relying more and more on robotic systems to fight wars. Seems like there have been a few sci-fi movies based on that scenario.


One question I have is what is the survivability of this sensor array network? A few long-range air-to-air missiles against the drones along with a few anti-satellite missiles could render the system useless. In fact, given the strong reliance of the military on satellites for communication, command and control, how resilient is that network in general?


Dex



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 02:43 PM
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a reply to: DexterRiley

For at least the next bunch of years, there will always be a man in the loop.

As for survivability, the weak link is the UAV, unless they use stealthy platforms. The other sensor will be ship or land based, such as the Sea Based X-Band Radar.

Communications are about to take a huge leap forward in the next few years, that will make them both more survivable, and more reliable.
edit on 11/9/2014 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 08:28 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58




For at least the next bunch of years, there will always be a man in the loop.

That's okay. Mankind generally catches up with science fiction at some point.


On topic: With respect to having a fully synthetic loop to control the interceptor, my thought is this would be a good initial candidate for automated command and control. I believe that it will be policy, for some time to come, to have a human in the loop when a decision has to be made regarding taking a human life. Intercepting incoming ballistic missiles is mundane by comparison. That behavior can be coded rather straightforwardly, and ultimately may be more efficient without a human in the loop. Whereas deploying weapons against humans requires not only a decision matrix, but value judgments, which "resist" being encoded in a computer program.

The Sea Based X-Band Radar is quite impressive. It looks like a re-purposed oil drilling platform and I calculate that radome height is about 140 feet (43 meters). Where in the theater would you position this asset? And what kind of support and defense assets are necessary to deploy along with it?

In the article, it indicated that the missile tracking systems included a variety of infra-red sensors. Are these sensors deployed as part of these giant X-Band Radar platforms. Or are these sensors just used in the airborne and spaceborne
components?

Finally, in thinking about missile defense systems, how does the Iron Dome Missile Defense System fit into this technological hierarchy? Has it reached the launch-on-remote level?

Thanks,


Dex



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 08:44 PM
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a reply to: DexterRiley

The SBX radar is designed for midcourse guidance, so you can put it just about anywhere you want, including safely back deep in your own controlled areas, to keep it safe. Right now, there's only one, and it's usually kept up near Alaska, where they have the ground based interceptors stationed. It's been moved to Hawaii on occasion, as well as Japan, when Korea ramps up their rhetoric.

The IR sensors would be deployed on both UAV, and ground platforms. They wouldn't be deployed on space based platforms, as they'd be either too vulnerable, or not in the right location depending on where the missiles are coming from. If they put them onto ships, or on mobile ground platforms, they can be moved and defended.



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 09:30 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I meant to ask you about this as well:


Communications are about to take a huge leap forward in the next few years, that will make them both more survivable, and more reliable.

Can you elaborate on what new technology will be used?

It seems to me, from a strategic perspective, that satellites are the weak link. I would assume that Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are used extensively as part of this array. LEO puts them in range of (possibly inferior) anti-satellite weapons. The SBX radar not withstanding, it's easier to replace ground, sea, and air based components than it is to replace satellites. So the loss of some small number of these assets can cripple, if not totally disable, the network.

Just a thought. Thanks for sharing you wisdom.


Dex



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 09:51 PM
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a reply to: DexterRiley

That's why so many communications satellites are generally in higher orbits. It both ensures that they're over the area that needs to use them when they need it, and protects them from most ASAT weapons. But it also leads to problems like control lag when you're controlling a UAV over Afghanistan from Nevada, and is the main reason that Air to Air UAVs are not feasible at this point. The control lag between control input, and control movement is just long enough that the UAV would be blown out of the sky before it could react if there was an inbound missile or a fighter nearby.



posted on Nov, 10 2014 @ 12:57 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

For midcourse guidance, won't the interceptor require realtime guidance commands? So, due to satellite control lag, the control node(s) would have to be located in-theater with direct control of the interceptor. Terrestrial repeaters can extend the transmission range, but those begin to introduce non-trivial delays at some point.

Given this satellite control lag, it seems to me that the entire sensor array has to communicate directly, rather than be relayed by the satellite. I assume that there are a continuous series of course adjustments that have to be performed based on feedback from the sensor array. So all that data has to arrive in realtime.

Interesting. Once they work the bugs out of this realtime command and control system, they can apply that to UAV usage and achieve air-to-air combat capability that they currently lack.


Dex



posted on Nov, 10 2014 @ 01:12 AM
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a reply to: DexterRiley

The steering comes through the data link from the Aegis, directly to the SM-3 so there's no lag. They're working on the lag issue though.



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