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SCI/TECH: Severe Limits on Boost-Phase Missile Defense

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posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 08:58 PM
A report from the American Physical Society,which was expected in late 2002 arrived in July of 2003 after congress had appropriated more than $600 million for boost-phase work as part of a $9 billion request for missile defense funding. Of the $600 million, about $60 million is for research on a high-speed interceptor rocket. The remainder is for continuing work on an airborne laser. The report which took two years to complete was an intensive study on Boost-phase missile defense, the strategy of destroying a hostile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as it climbs into the sky during the first few minutes of flight. The report concluded that it was virtually impossible in all but a few limited circumstances. The report studied high-speed hit-to-kill interceptors, a space-based hit-to-kill system, and an airborne laser. "It's a rock-solid report, but it would have been more useful if it had been released sooner," said Peter Zimmerman, a Capitol Hill veteran and consultant on science issues for the Democrats on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

APS Study Points to Severe Limits on Boost-Phase Missile Defense

Overwhelming and devastating

Joseph Cirincione, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who spent more than a decade working on Capitol Hill, predicted that the report will have tremendous influence in the missile defense debate. "The report is just an overwhelming and devastating critique of boost-phase missile defense," he said. "It is hard to see how boost-phase proponents can push their programs in the face of this serious, detailed, and exhaustive study."

After the APS study was released, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) issued a statement saying it was studying the report but remained confident in its program. "We continue to believe that boost-phase technology has great potential for playing a vital role in a layered missile defense," the statement said. The layered defense includes attacking missiles during their boost phase, midcourse flight in space, and the termination phase as their warheads reenter the atmosphere. Members of the APS study team briefed MDA officials about the report in private meetings last October. "Clearly they are going to be concerned about our findings," Lamb said.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

APS Photo of Aegis Missile

Another story
Boost-Phase Defense Against Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

Letters Debating the report finds
Boost−Phase Missile Defense Debate Continues

[edit on 1-7-2004 by JacKatMtn]

[edit on 7-1-2004 by Valhall]

[edit on 7-1-2004 by Valhall]

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