BMD Watch: Japan fears cruise missile

By MARTIN SIEFF, UPI Senior News Analyst   |   Feb. 1, 2008 at 11:29 AM   |   0 comments

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Japan is stepping up its defenses against cruise missiles, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday.

The newspaper said the Japanese Defense Ministry had taken the decision to boost national defenses against cruise missiles. Significantly, the report acknowledged the concern was not over North Korean capabilities, but Chinese ones. North Korea is not developing any cruise missiles and is not believed to have bought any. However, China has been investing heavily in developing them.

In response, Japan now intends to boost the number of aircraft it has that carry airborne warning and control systems. It also plans to put state-of-the-art radar systems in its P-X patrol aircraft.

Tokyo is also contemplating building its own new long-range surface-to-air missile to add to its multi-layered defense against such attacks, the report said.

The usually ponderous Japanese government bureaucracy is expected to move relatively quickly to implement and fund these new programs. They are already projected to be part of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's midterm defense buildup program, which will begin to be drawn up in the next fiscal year, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

The paper noted developing cruise-missile defenses against China will mark a significant redirection of Japanese missile defense programs, which under previous Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe were almost entirely focused on defending against intermediate-range ballistic missile threats, primarily from neighboring North Korea. As a result, the threat of close-to-ground level, contour-hugging cruise missiles had been largely ignored.

"We haven't recognized (cruise missiles) as a major threat," a senior official of Japan's Self-Defense Forces told the Yomiuri Shimbun.

However, the paper noted that China had already armed its combat fighter aircraft and submarines with made-in-China cruise missiles, with ranges of more than 600 miles.

The paper further noted that China is believed to be also working on advanced precision-guided cruise missiles with a range of up to 1,800 miles that would be comparable in their capabilities to the veteran and long-effective U.S.-made Tomahawk cruise missile.


Lockheed Martin tests Aegis fire control system

Lockheed Martin said Monday it has carried out its first successful test of its advanced fire control system.

Lockheed Martin said in a statement that its Aegis Open Architecture Weapon System "recently performed a successful missile firing from the U.S. Navy's "USS Desert Ship" at White Sands Missile Range -- WSMR."

"This was the first test of upgrades to both the Aegis Fire Control System and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System -- VLS -- installed on the USS Desert Ship, the (U.S.) Navy's land-based, live-fire test bed for surface-to-air weapons. The platform is continually upgraded to meet the Navy's live fire testing requirements," Lockheed Martin said.

"The WSMR Aegis Fire Control System upgrade is a tailored commercial off-the-shelf equipment suite built by Lockheed Martin that incorporates Aegis Open Architecture computer program products. The WSMR system uses weapon control; common sensor and tracker services; SPY-1 radar; and command and decision computer program modules which are part of the Aegis Open Architecture system that will be installed on Aegis-equipped cruisers as part of the U.S. Navy's Cruiser Modernization program," the company said.

"The MK 41 Vertical Launching System Baseline VII installed at WSMR is the version of the below-deck missile launching system employed on U.S. Navy destroyers beginning with the USS Pinkney -- DDG-91. The Baseline VII's installation at WSMR provides full commonality with the latest fleet systems," Lockheed Martin said.

"Both systems were installed at the Desert Ship in March 2007 to begin an extensive integration and test period. The system has been certified to support testing of all Standard Missile -- SM)-2 -- medium range variants. Continuing efforts are underway to certify SM-2 Block IV and SM-6," Lockheed Martin said.

"This live firing further demonstrates the readiness of Aegis Open Architecture," said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense line of business. "The systems engineering and methodical testing at WSMR provides greater assurance to the fleet that the next generation of Aegis -- Aegis Open Architecture -- will perform."

"Aegis Open Architecture will allow the Navy to stay on technology's leading edge through its innovative use of commonly-available commercial off-the-shelf computing hardware and open system software, enabling the service to more easily implement technology refreshes and capability upgrades to the weapon system as they are developed in the future," Lockheed Martin said.

"USS Bunker Hill -- CG-52 -- will be the first of 22 cruisers scheduled for modernization with Aegis Open Architecture when it begins its depot modernization period in February 2008. In 2012, the Navy will begin a similar modernization program for the 62-ship class of Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke destroyers," the company said.

"The road to Aegis Open Architecture included extensive systems engineering to reconfigure Aegis with commercial off-the-shelf computing hardware and open system software. The end result is a weapon system that can absorb frequent technology refreshes and can readily accept upgrades in capabilities, whether they are accomplished through new development or through the integration of separately developed third party products," Lockheed Martin said.

"The Aegis Weapon System is the world's premier naval surface defense system. It seamlessly integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, SM-2 and SM-3 missiles and the weapon system's command and control system," the company said.

"The Aegis Weapon System is currently deployed on 85 ships around the globe with more than 20 additional ships planned or under contract. In addition to the U.S., Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Australia, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain," Lockheed Martin said.

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