Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mobile Missile Intercptors for Europe

The above article was posted on the Global Security Newswire on 9-20-09. It is entitled, “Boeing Proposes Deploying Mobile Missile Interceptor in Europe.” I’ll comment below.

“. . . Russia has long opposed a Bush administration proposal to permanently field 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic due to fears that the system could counter Moscow's strategic missile deterrent.

“The Obama administration is currently reviewing the plan, which U.S. officials say is intended to overcome Iran's developing long-range missile capabilities.

"If a fixed site is going to be just too hard to get implemented politically or otherwise, we didn't want people to think that the only way you needed to use a [ground-based interceptor] was in a fixed silo," Greg Hyslop, Boeing vice president and general manager for missile defense, told Reuters at a missile defense conference sponsored in Huntsville, Ala.

“By 2015, Boeing could prepare a two-stage, 47,500-pound interceptor that could be transported by C-17 cargo aircraft and deployed at a NATO site on a trailer-based launch platform, Hyslop said. The interceptor could be fielded within 24 hours and then removed when the missile threat abates, he said.

"’That would be a significant undertaking,’ Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said of the Boeing proposal.

"’But we are looking for opportunities,’ he added, indicating support for the plan by defense contractor Raytheon Co. to produce a land-based version of the sea-launched Standard Missile 3.

“The mobile interceptor could be ready by 2015 and is likely to cost less than the existing plan, Hyslop said. The U.S. Defense Department is expected to need at least $1 billion to build the missile shield installations in Europe, according to the Government Accountability Office. The Pentagon says it could establish the two sites before Iran establishes a long-range missile capability in 2015.”

“. . .The United States pursued the rapid deployment of missile defenses based on an assumption that ‘the emergence of the intercontinental ballistic missile threat would come much faster than it did’ from nations including Iran and North Korea, Cartwright said. ‘The reality is that it has not come as fast as we thought . . .”

The 30 ground-based interceptors to be deployed in Alaska and California could be used to destroy 15 incoming ICBMs at one time. . .’That's a heck of a lot more than a rogue" state could launch . . .”


Good stuff. Sounds like an “unsolicited proposal.” I worked on a number of them in the past – for McDonnell Douglas before it became part of Boeing. We had a Research and Development department. It wouldn’t create proposals out of thin air but would get feelers or hints from form such places as conversations in restaurants with Air Force personnel at Dayton. There is nothing wrong with that. Many of us had Air Force “counterparts” which we were very friendly with. We knew well that even if our counterpart or his boss liked our proposal, it would still have a tough battle to make it into the congressional budget. Most of our proposals never made it, but sometimes, a proposal like this Mobile Missile Interceptor did.

Iran has been stonewalling everyone in regard to its nuclear development. I foresaw a time when as a result of their misguided view of the world, the Iranian’s nuclear facilities would be bombed by Israel. But now the MMI may provide an alternative. The article mentions Europe, but perhaps Israel could be satisfied with the MMI sort of protection. If the MMI really works, and Israel would need to have that proved to them, perhaps they wouldn’t need to bomb Iran.

As to Russia’s being testy over the possible loss of some of its “deterrence.” Good grief. What we have here are nations that the USSR abused for decades, Czechoslovakia and Poland are now paranoid about the Russian Federation following in Stalin’s footsteps. Who can blame them? Russians have been treating Eastern Europe as their own private playground. Who can blame Poland and Czechoslovakia, not to mention a host of other nations from being fearful of Russia’s intentions?

Has Russia demonstrated a peaceful desire to join the globalized market? Has Russia been striving to convert itself into a Market Economy? Well, sort of – maybe in a tiny little way. But what we are most aware of is Putin thumping his chest and threatening Georgia, Chechnya, and Ukraine. Poland and Czechoslovakia can look at Germany and not feel threatened. But they don’t seem to be able to look at Russia and have that same feeling.

Don’t forget, we are talking about defensive interceptors and not offensive weapons. In order for Russia to come athwart a Polish MMI for example, Russia would have to launch a missile at Poland. We can understand why Poland is afraid of Russia, but why is Russia afraid of Poland having defensive interceptors.

I’m reminded of a hike Susan and I were on years ago. We were in a very remote wilderness area and hadn’t seen anyone all day. Then we encountered two men coming toward us. They noticed I was wearing a .357 Colt Trooper and began questioning me about it. Why did I have it? What was I going to do with it? I went on maximum Marine-Corps-alert and was ill-humored toward them. I moved Susan on up the trail ahead of me, checking over my shoulder to make sure these guys were going the other way. Susan was upset with me for being rude to them. Oh well.

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