posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 08:03 AM
A few things.....
First, in the AJ article, the photograph appears to be a US Chapperal AAW missile launcher with ground launched Sidewinders; WFT are are they talking
Secondly, maneuvering RVs have been around for decades and are not new technology. About MARVs:
"One option under consideration for the MM-IV reentry vehicle (RV) is maneuvering capability to provide additional mission flexibility. The
maneuvering RV provides significant advantages with respect to mission targeting footprint and vehicle survivability versus countermeasures. However,
because maneuvering RVs can fly a variety of reentry trajectories with long glide segments, onboard thermal protection materials are subjected to
extremely high total heat loads".
The USAF has had a RV improvement program since the 1960's, called Advanced Ballistic Re-Entry Systems (ABRES).
"To penetrate a layered (exoatmospheric and terminal) defense, ABRES focused on a maneuvering reentry vehicle. This vehicle would be coupled with an
early-reentry decoy, which would remain viable down to the altitude at which the reentry vehicle could maneuver. Researchers determined that the
extremely high lateral g forces that the maneuvering reentry vehicle could pull would be more than sufficient to evade the terminal interceptors.
The Minuteman II had a much longer range than its predecessor and was the first U.S. ICBM to use decoys in its warhead section. (U.S. Air Force)
The first maneuvering vehicles tested were large flap-based units, three of which were successfully flight-tested over the Pacific in the late 1960s.
Vehicles that used reaction jets to maneuver were also considered, but design studies and wind tunnel data indicated that the simpler flap arrangement
could perform all the maneuvers required. Three full-scale flap-based vehicles were flown over the Pacific Ocean in 1973–1974, followed by three
successful preprototype flight tests of the Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle in 1981. The vehicle was declared operational for the Minuteman III
or the MX.
The success of the Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle was made possible in part by its innovative guidance system, a small nuclear-hardened inertial
platform that could achieve the same accuracy as a ballistic reentry vehicle even after experiencing high-level accelerations. Eight years had gone
into the development of this guidance platform, and its introduction was highly significant. Whereas guidance systems for ballistic missiles can weigh
well over 100 kilograms and only have to withstand acceleration up to 10 g's, the guidance system for the Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle could
weigh no more than 13–18 kilograms and had to retain accuracy after experiencing g forces more than an order of magnitude higher. The early design
employed small gyros and accelerometers in a small, hardened, gimbaled platform, which was immersed in a liquid to relieve the g force loads; however,
this arrangement generated thermodynamic and chemical interactions among the electronics, instruments, and liquid. These problems were eventually
resolved, and the small hardened inertial platform achieved its performance goals, providing a model for future development".
Our current and future ABM systems are capable of dealing with this well-known (but still difficult) threat.