Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by A.V., Feb 17, 2009.
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domain-b.com : AeroIndia 2009: DRDO has developed extreme technologies, says Dr Prahlad
DRDO has developed extreme technologies, says Dr Prahlad news
In a wide ranging,comprehensive interview on DRDO's capabilties and development programme, Dr Prahalad, chief controller R&D (SI), points out that the gap between users needs and DRDO's capabilities is reducing. The organisation is now fully capable of working out a road map with the army, navy and air force to develop weapon systems needed over the next 5-7 years.
Distinguished scientist and chief controller, R&D (SI), DRDO
1. Could you speak about the Akash and Nag missiles? How do they fare with comparable technologies and how far away are they from induction?
The Akash and Nag missiles were part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme begun in 1984 under Dr Abdul Kalam as the chairman. We then took a purposeful decision that Akash and Nag would be the most complex and sophisticated missile systems in the IGMDP.
So, it was given the maximum time also, as compared to Prithvi, Trishul and Agni and others. Akash and Nag were given nearly 15 years. So, we knew at that time it was a very complex system and taking up the challenge we began developing these two systems.
In case of Akash, it has been uniquely configured and customised for our own Indian Army and air force. During the initial discussions with the army and the air force, they gave some requirements like it should be mobile, it should have a 30 km range, a very effective high kill probability, it should be integrated with the automatic command and control system, it cannot be manually operated, should have multiple target handling capability, which means that several targets could be engaged with several missiles simultaneously.
In most missile systems you have boost and coast – that is you boost the missile for some time and allow it to coast, or, boost, sustain and coast. The requirement here, however, was continuous thrust, or, all the way thrust. Once you start coasting, the maneuverability of the missile comes down. This was not acceptable to the services. They felt it should be continuously maneuverable till it intercepts the target, which meant the requirement was that the power/thrust had to be continuously on.
These were a unique set of requirements –such a missile doesn't exist anywhere in the world and it meant that we had to uniquely configure the missiles. That's how Akash was realised, We took 5 years more than what we promised to the army and air force, but when tested in the last development phase the results were 9/9 –that is out of the 9 missiles tested all them met the guidance and accuracy control requirements. Based on these tests the Indian Air Force has placed orders for 2 squadrons and the army is expected to follow suit.
Bharat Electronics will be the nodal production agency along with Bharat Dynamics and there will be at least 40 industries from the public and private sectors that will be involved with the manufacture of these missiles in large numbers.
So, this is one story and we expect that based on the expenditure of Rs600 crore that we have invested in the Akash missile, business worth about Rs7,000 crore should result for radars, missiles, launchers and control systems all put together within the next 5 years.
So, this is the story for Akash.
3. The country's BMD technology would appear to be moving apace – could you dwell on aspects of the technologies that are being brought into play for the whole programme?
Ballistic Missile Defence or missile defence systems, are developed based on the threat perceptions as presented to us by the armed forces, which take into consideration threats from our neighbours, their plans etc. Based on these inputs we are developing certain critical technologies against ballistic missiles.
For this we need some unique technologies, such as high-speed propulsion, which can take missiles to hypersonic speeds. You need a high burning rate, solid propellants, which can take the missile quickly to high Mach number.
We need very high accuracy guidance so that the missile can even physically obliterate a hostile missile – what is called a hit-to-kill capability. For this we need not only radio gadgets but also thermal infra-red gadgets. So for this we need a combined dual-guidance –not only radar but also imaging guidance. This requires very high accuracy algorithms.
Also we need very quick reaction systems. When somebody launches a ballistic missile the time available to react to the threat is very short - a few seconds. So, the instant you know a missile has been launched you have to launch the defence system within seconds, fly at a much higher speed than the attacking missile and intercept very accurately at very high altitudes. So this requires what is known as extreme technologies. These have now been developed and we are trying to integrate these technologies and produce a weapon that can be used by the armed forces.
The Space Review: India’s missile defense: changing the nature of the Indo-Pakistani conflict
India’s missile defense: changing the nature of the Indo-Pakistani conflict
by Taylor Dinerman
Monday, January 26, 2009
During a panel talk at New York’s Asia Society on January 21, Professor Ashutosh Varshney of Brown University claimed that some “right wing” forces in the US and India were interested in seeing Pakistan break up and that they imagined that somehow India would be able to “neuter the nukes” and prevent them from getting into unfriendly hands, something he considered highly risky and likely to lead to catastrophe. During the same event former Pakistani diplomat Munir Akram claimed that any war between India and Pakistan would escalate uncontrollably and go nuclear quite quickly.
At this moment, they are both right. The India-Pakistan nuclear stand-off is stalemated to Pakistan’s advantage, in that they can launch (or allow) terror attacks such as the November 2008 one on Mumbai and India can do essentially nothing in response. The unmistakable smugness of the former Pakistani diplomat made this evident. However, this situation will not last forever. India is now seeking way to neutralize the majority of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and within a decade or perhaps a little longer they may come up with a solution.
In 2006 India began testing a missile defense version of its Prithvi medium-range ballistic missile. This test is just one sign that New Delhi is seeking to develop a multi-layer complex that can defend against Pakistan’s nuclear missiles. Due to its liquid-fueled first stage, the Prithvi Air Defense (PAD) is certainly not an ideal system, but it is both available and locally made. The Indian military is comfortable enough with this weapon’s effectiveness to make it their main battlefield ballistic missile for both conventional and nuclear applications.
Even if they give missile defense a big budget and a high priority, it will be many years before India has a moderately effective, indigenous missile defense shield. The claim last year by the head of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) that they will have a multi-layered system ready in 2010 is taken with a grain of salt by observers both inside and outside the subcontinent. However, unless the geopolitical situation radically changes, there is no doubt that India will continue work on the systems for the foreseeable future.
If they wanted to they could buy systems from the US, Israel, or Russia, and they have already bought themselves a pair of Israeli Green Pine radars originally designed for the Arrow ABM system. If they were ready to spend the money they could combine, for example, the US PAC 3 version of the Patriot with the Israeli Arrow and have an effective but limited defense system within a fairly short time frame. While the US may have blocked India from buying the Israeli system in the past, this no longer would be the case.
What is more likely, though, is that they will continue to build up their own technology while procuring a few items from overseas and entering into collaborative development programs with carefully selected foreign firms. The hard part may not be the interceptors themselves but building up the network of sensors and command and control systems needed to make the whole thing credible.
One requirement will be for some sort of space based early warning system to supplement the powerful long-range radars they will have to deploy both in the air and in the western Himalaya mountains. India is lucky in that it does have a few good places where it could place radars that, if they were powerful enough, could cover most of the possible launch sites. But they will still need satellites to cover the whole of Pakistan and to provide a secure and unambiguous warning of a launch event.
India could, if they wanted to, gain access to the US DSP (Defense Support Program) and SBIRS (Space Based Infra Red System) information the same way that NATO, Israel, Japan, and South Korea all have this data available to one degree or another. However, given the history of the subcontinent, and the shaky basis on which the new US-India relationship rests, the government may not be willing to put its trust in Washington’s goodwill.
They may choose to build their own heat detecting satellites. The IRS (Indian Remote Sensing) and Cartosat series of remote sensing spacecraft have given India some of the expertise required to build an equivalent of the DSP. Such a system does not have to be as heavy or as sophisticated as the US one; it could, in fact, consist of a larger number of small satellites in low Earth orbit. This would certainly be expensive by Indian standards and would take at least as long to develop and deploy as the indigenous interceptor missiles themselves.
Another factor that will add to the expense of this project is the fact that India is a big country and will need a fairly large number of long-range and short-range BMD missiles. The better that they can do in the boost phase the better off they will be, but there are few signs that they, or anyone else except the US, are seriously looking at this capability.
As long as India vigorously pursues this capability it will put Pakistan into the same kind of dilemma that faced the Soviet Union after President Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program in March 1983. Islamabad has neither the resources nor the technology to compete with India in this field. Indian missile defense will not, by itself, prevent a Pakistani “loose nuke” situation, but it will reduce the value of their atomic stockpile.
They also lack the resources to build up a very large and diverse force of reliable, sophisticated, nuclear-tipped missiles that could overwhelm an effective Indian defense system. If they tried to build such a force they would either have to weaken their already limited conventional defense forces or spend themselves into economic oblivion. India’s robust and growing economy is a strategic asset that is slowly but surely making itself felt in the military balance between the two subcontinental rivals.
FOCUS -- DRDO
Missile development in India is a saga of self-reliance and sustained struggle.
SOMETIME in February, a modified version of Dhanush, India’s surface-to-surface missile, will take off from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal. As the powerful missile, simulating the terminal conditions of a ballistic missile of a range of 1,500 kilometres, heads towards the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast, an interceptor missile will take off from the island and waylay the incoming “enemy” missile at an altitude of 80 km and pulverise it. The interception will take place in the last few seconds of the flight of the “enemy” missile.
If the interception is a success, it will be a hat-trick for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in its quest to establish a credible missile shield against incoming ballistic missiles from adversarial countries. The advantage in this mission, in which the interception takes place at an altitude of 80 km, is that the debris of the “enemy” missile will take longer to fall through the atmosphere and will become cinders. DRDO scored a spectacular success on December 6, 2007, when its interceptor missile Advanced Air Defence (AAD-02) smashed into an incoming Prithvi missile in a “hit to kill” mode. It propelled India into an elite group of three countries – the United States, Russia and Israel – that have the ability to intercept ballistic missiles. On November 27, 2006, India’s first interceptor missile, Prithvi Air Defence, “ambushed” an incoming Prithvi-II missile at an altitude of 50 km.
Today, India has an inventory of powerful missiles, which include Agni, Agni II, Agni III, and Prithvi with its naval and air force versions, Akash, Nag, Astra, BrahMos, underwater-launched K-15 (Sagarika) and land version Shourya. Missile development in India is a saga of self-reliance and sustained struggle, with the pioneers learning by reverse engineering and battling technology-denial regimes such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
V.K. Saraswat, Chief Controller, Missiles and Strategic Systems, DRDO, said: “Today, we are confident that any time the West switches off the complete flow of technology or components, we will be in a position to build these missiles.”
The emphasis in DRDO’s missile programme, in future, will be on systems that are reliable, robust and cost-effective. Each missile can attack multiple targets. The missiles will have precision-guided ammunition to pick out areas of interest such as military facilities and radar installations. “This means you need a very accurate weapon system. Precision is going to be the buzzword,” Saraswat said. The technologies that will help in achieving such miniaturised but highly accurate systems are micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS), nano-sensors, nano-materials, advanced computers with sophisticated software, and so on.
Saraswat, who is Programme Director, Air Defence, said: “So DRDO has embarked on a major programme of development of MEMS, nano-materials and nano-sensors to enable it to enter this particular area. In terms of speed, since the time available to reach the target will be short, the future work will be in the area of hypersonic missiles. We are already working on scram-jet technology. Our project on Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), where we want to demonstrate the performance of a scram-jet engine at an altitude of 15 km to 20 km, is already on.”
DRDO’s missile programme dates back to 1959-60 when Dr. D.S. Kothari was Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister. A group of young scientists including S.L. Bansal, K.C. Chaturvedi and B.N. Singh, motivated by the international scenario at that time and the 1962 Chinese aggression, set about thinking of missile technology development in India. Work began at the Metcalfe House in New Delhi at a conceptual level. Soon the missile establishment shifted to Hyderabad, where the State government gave it the army barracks of the erstwhile Nizam. This was the genesis of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad. DRDO started with building anti-tank missiles.
Its first anti-tank missile was a totally indigenous product – propulsion, control, guidance, power supply and the materials. There were no computers, and electronic circuits were used to make calculations. The missile was test-fired near Imarat, a village on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Its reliability proved to be good.
continued in next post........
In continuation from last post..........
The project laid the foundation of India’s missile programme and it helped to train many technologists including A.V. Ranga Rao, S. Krishnan, K. Rama Rao, Z.P. Marshal, H.S. Rama Rao and J.C. Bhattacharya, who later contributed to the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
Many from this group of more than 50 people, who were involved in the development of India’s anti-tank missile, went on to set up the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad, which became the production agency of missiles. And, in the late 1960s, the Government of India decided on licensed production of SS-11B anti-tank missile of France at the BDL.
However, on the international scene, work on missile development had started before the First World War. During the Second World War, Germany could boast the brilliant missile technologist Werner von Braun. By the end of the Second World War, Germany had built the formidable V-2 rocket, signalling that Germany had arrived. After the defeat of Germany, the U.S. and the Soviet Union captured Germany’s top missile technologists and used their expertise to build their missile programmes. A missile race began between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, leading to a proliferation of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).
All this motivated DRDO to somehow bridge the gap and it initiated a major project for developing a surface-to-air missile (SAM). It did this by reverse engineering the Russian SAM-2, which Russia had supplied to India. India busied itself with this project from 1970 to 1979.
If DRDL has today grown to be a massive complex with a huge infrastructure, the credit should go to Air Vice Marshal V.S. Narayanan. He was the one who perceived the need to build a critical mass of infrastructure. He set up solid and liquid propellant test facilities, the base for precision-manufacturing of gyroscopes, accelerometers, actuators for missiles’ control and guidance, and foundry for manufacturing light materials such as magnesium. “I am happy to say that I joined DRDO as a young scientist at that time,” said Saraswat.
Saraswat gave another instance of the sweep and amplitude of Air Vice Marshal Narayanan’s vision. Narayanan realised that academic institutions should have tailor-made courses for young men interested in missile technology. An M.Tech course in missile technology was started at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, with the help of its Aeronautics Department, in the early 1970s. Many DRDO scientists who pursued that course went on to become project directors and programme directors in its laboratories.
Between 1970 and 1979, the basic technologies needed for a missile programme were in place. Yet, India was not in a position to deliver the systems. So the indigenisation of the Russian SAM-2 began. In parallel, a programme called Valiant began under the leadership of Squadron Leader R. Gopalswamy to build a rocket engine powered by liquid propellants. Saraswat was part of the team that built the engine between 1971 and 1974. Dr. B.D. Nag Chaudhri, then Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, motivated the young missile technologists not only to indigenise SAM-2 but build technologies needed for the future, such as liquid engines. The engine was tested on June 10, 1974. The previous month, India had conducted a peaceful nuclear experiment at Pokhran.
DRDO simultaneously turned its attention to building a guidance package because the inertial navigation system formed an essential part of a long-range missile. A team headed by D. Burman and comprising P. Banerjee and Avinash Chander (who now heads the Advanced Systems Laboratory in Hyderabad that designs and builds the Agni series of missiles) built a platform-based inertial navigation system (INS), which was tested on board an Avro aircraft in 1974-75. This INS, based on transistor-based analog computers, weighed 50 kg. (Today, the INS weighs 9 kg.) Subsequently, said Avinash Chander, an INS was built for both missiles and an aircraft, and this was tested in 1979 on board a Canberra aircraft.
By now, DRDL had built enough infrastructure in the fields of propulsion, navigation and manufacture of materials. But it did not have its own range (launch pads), so it used the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Sriharikota base or the Indian Air Force’s Suryalanka air base for flight-testing its own SAM-2.
Soon, India’s political and scientific leadership, which included Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Defence Minister R. Venkataraman, and Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister V.S. Arunachalam, decided that all these technologies should be consolidated. This led to the birth of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who was project director of ISRO’s successful SLV-3 flight in 1980, was inducted as the DRDL Director to shape these diverse technologies into a good product. It was then decided that DRDL would pursue multiple projects simultaneously and not merely one project at a time.
Thus, four projects were born under the IGMDP: the tactical surface-to-surface missile Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-air Akash, the short-range surface-to-air Trishul, and the anti-tank missile Nag.
According to Kalam, Prithvi could not be converted into a long-range missile and so the DRDO should come up with re-entry technology. “On Kalam’s insistence, a development project on re-entry technology was included in the programme [IGMDP], and he called it Agni,” said Saraswat. Thus, the 1980s saw the realisation of technologies in the areas of Nag, the inertial navigation system of Prithvi, phased array radars, capability to handle multiple targets, the re-entry technology of Agni, the ram-rocket motor of Akash, and so on.
The first Prithvi test-firing took place in 1988 and the Agni Technology Demonstrator’s flight-test took place the following year. After the launch of Agni in 1989, the U.S. declined to give India the phase shifters for the phased array radars for Akash. Germany refused to give India the magnesium alloy used in Prithvi’s wings. Servo-valves needed for the electro-hydraulic control systems of Agni and Prithvi were embargoed. France, which used to give gyroscopes and accelerators to India, said its exports were taboo. Intel said it would not give India chips for the computers used in Prithvi and Agni. “This is a very short list. The list runs into hundreds of components and materials,” said a top DRDO scientist. After 1989, DRDO evolved strategies to counter the MTCR.
The missile men duly began programmes for the development of phase shifters, magnesium alloy, servo-valves, and so on. Kalam and his team formed a consortium of DRDO laboratories such as the Solid State Physics Laboratory and the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), the Defence Research and Development Establishment, industries and academic institutions to build these sub-systems, components and materials. It was an exacting path, but it yielded positive results. The public sector undertaking Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI), DMRL and private industries developed the magnesium alloy in two years. When the first plate of magnesium alloy rolled out of MIDHANI, Germany proferred India any amount of magnesium alloy. DRDO wrote back saying it was prepared to export the alloy to Germany.
The phase shifters, a critical element for radars for Akash, was jointly developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories The resins and carbon fibres used in the re-entry systems of Agni, which were denied to DRDO, were developed in India. The winding machines, also denied, were fabricated.
Saraswat said: “While this was a painful process, it laid a strong foundation for research and it stood the country in good stead because today there is a flair for doing this kind of work in industry, academic institutions and laboratories.”
DRDO schedules another missile defence test next month
DRDO to test missile defence in Feb
New Delhi, Jan 23: Aiming to get a shield against missile over its skies, India will conduct another test of its Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) next month.
"Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will conduct the test of its interceptor missile and missile tracking radars next month for validating the advancements made in the Air Defence programme," Defence Ministry sources told reporters here today.
Though the interceptor missiles, namely Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) and Advanced Air Defence (AAD), have been tested earlier, the main aim of the next month's test would be to validate the capabilities of the indigenously developed 'Swordfish' Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR).
Swordfish is a target acquisition and fire control radar for the BMD system.
"The missile to be hit will be fired from a longer distance than it was in the earlier test. DRDO will test whether the radar can track the incoming missile from that distance or not," they said.
In next month's test, the exo-atmospheric interceptor missile PAD will hit its target in space at an altitude over 80 km from earth, sources said.
They said the premier defence research agency will carry out another test around the year end to enhance the capabilities of AAD endo-atmospheric missile, which is used for intercepting missiles at altitudes up to 15 km.
Sources said if the tests prove successful, the DRDO will go ahead with the deployment of the BMD by 2015.
When contacted, DRDO Air Defence programme Director V K Saraswat said that the AD programme was at a "fairly advanced stage" now.
"The building blocks of BMD such as the surveillance, tracking and battlefield management systems have been developed," he said.
Saraswat said the DRDO has developed a very robust command and control system for the AD programme, which can "survive and deliver" in any environment.
"Our command, control and communication system can work in a networked form and survive and deliver even in a high electronic warfare (EW) environment," he said.
He said India was always open for cooperation developing technologies for the programme with friendly foreign countries, but said the country would "not buy" any ready-made BMD systems from any country.
"We have done some thinking on cooperation with countries such as Russia, United States and Israel in this programme and we have taken their help also in developing some of the technologies such as the 'Swordfish' radar for the BMD with Israel but we will not buy anything ready-made from outside," Saraswat said.
DRDO's BMD programme has a two-tiered system consisting of two interceptor missiles, PAD for high altitude interception and AAD for lower altitude interception.
PAD was tested in November 2006, followed by AAD in December 2007. With the test of the PAD missile, India became the fourth country to have successfully developed an Anti-Ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia and Israel.
wow this is soo very informative.... thanks for posting
good examples of these extreme technologies are supersonic brahmos, brahmos 2 hypersonic version and Avatar truly amazing and extreme weapons.
India developing surface to air missile
India developing surface to air missile
NEW DELHI: Indian is developing a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) in collaboration with Israel for protecting its important cities
and installations from enemy aircraft.
"We are jointly developing a 70-km range MR-SAM in partnership with Israeli companies," Senior DRDO scientist Prahlada told reporters on the sidelines of a DRDO function here.
"We may take around 12 years but the requirement of the services is that they want it (MR-SAM) fast. The only way to make it four to five years is to partner with a country which has already developed some of the hardware. If they have have got some hardware and we have got some knowledge, we can do it in 4-5 years," Prahlada said.
He added that the DRDO has already developed air defence systems such as the Trishul and the Akash.
He said the Akash did not fit the bill for the MR-SAM as its range was only 30 km and the services wanted a missile system with a range of 70 km.
He said MR-SAM systems can be deployed for the security of cities such as Delhi and also for securing nuclear installations across the country.
I have a question for you guys...doesn't India already have a couple of S-300 regiments protecting the major cities? Why do we need to sink billions of dollars into another SAM program?
we are also making maitre with the french, it's a good question.
i think india can upgrade its s-300 to s-400 config this will be very potent and one of the worlds best with increased range and some counter stealth features.
maitri will be a good investment i think.
I was wondering why S-400 has not been offered?
its because only from nov 2009 its available for export i am sure the russians will offer india for upgrading its s-300 systems.
I really think our BMD and layered concept will be a unique and fullproof system, i'd like to have S-400 as a part of it, no other country in 5 years will have an air defense close to what India will have.
the own BMD with key elements from s-400 would be a deadly weapon.
i think the us will make an offer of the THAAD soon this year ending before the russians offer the s-400.
if that happens I would prefer THAAD just for the simple reason it has x-band radar and we can also possibly utilize it other areas some more info:
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
Warhead: impact weapon
Range: 250 km
In Service: Exp. 2008
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a mobile, land-based weapons program designed to destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phases, just seconds before they explode over U.S. cities and military assets. One of the last lines of defense against weapons of mass destruction, THAAD will play a critical role in the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System.
Upon completion, THAAD will be able to intercept incoming missiles both inside and just outside of the Earth’s atmosphere at a range of 200 kilometers. At such an altitude, it will be difficult for enemy missiles to launch decoys and countermeasures to fool the THAAD interceptor. In addition, THAAD will ensure the safe diffusion of any nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, thus minimizing the risk of missile debris raining down on civilian or military populations.
The THAAD project, originally known as the Theater High Altitude Area Defense system, began in 1992 when the Missile Defense Agency awarded a $689 million development contract to Lockheed Martin and subcontractors Raytheon, Datatape, and EBCO. Initial successes were encouraging. In the late 1990s, however, THAAD missed six out of eight of its attempted intercepts, and many dismissed the project as an expensive failure. MDA decided to backtrack. Between 2000 and 2003, THAAD engineers reworked the entire system and fixed many of its inherent problems and redundancies.
THAAD is now ready to emerge from hiatus. Its engineers are preparing a series of high-profile tests to prove that the new system can successfully intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. In March 2004, the “T” in THAAD was changed from “theater” to “terminal,” to better describe the system’s primary function: the destruction of ballistic missiles in their final descent phase. This new THAAD will consist of four principal components: an X-band radar; a Command & Control and Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) unit; mobile launchers; and the THAAD interceptor missiles themselves.
In a typical combat scenario, THAAD’s X-band, phased array, solid-state radar will scan the horizon for hostile missiles. It will be capable of detecting threats at a range of 1,000 kilometers. Once an incoming missile has been detected, the X-band radar will relay this information to the C2BMC unit, a mobile command center installed on Humvees that manages and integrates all THAAD components. C2BMC units are capable of linking THAAD with other missile defense layers to strengthen the overall Ballistic Missile Defense System. C2BMC is also responsible for determining friend from foe.
A typical THAAD battery will include nine M1075 truck-mounted launchers to transport and fire the interceptors. Each launcher is 12 meters long, 3.25 meters wide, and carries 10 missiles. The Army will be able to transport the launchers by C-130 aircraft for rapid deployment. After firing, the launcher will take approximately 30 minutes to reload. The interceptor missile itself is 6.17 meters long, 0.34 meters in diameter, and weighs 900 kilograms. It is powered by a single stage solid fuel rocket motor with thrust vectoring. Although the interceptor is not designed to track long-range ballistic missiles, MDA has not yet ruled out the possibility of upgrading the system to accommodate greater range and velocity.
Following the launch, the interceptor will receive targeting information from the ground-based X-band radar. After its burnout stage, the interceptor’s kill vehicle (KV) will separate from the booster. The KV is equipped with a liquid Divert and Attitude Control System (DAVS) which will maneuver the KV toward the target interception point. An infrared seeker in the KV’s nose will home in on the target. At the point of impact, the KV will collide with the incoming missile (like a bullet hitting a bullet), causing complete destruction of the warhead including any nuclear, chemical, or biological agents.
THAAD is currently moving forward in two-year development “blocks.” Its current phase, Block 2004, will culminate in three flight tests and two intercept attempts. The flight tests will assess the performance of the interceptor both inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The intercept attempts, scheduled for 2005 and 2006, will take place at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and the Pacific Missile Range in Hawaii, and will determine whether or not the new THAAD system is ready for deployment. In the Block 2006 period, MDA will conduct five more intercept attempts, one of which will include a “salvo shot” of two simultaneously-fired THAAD missiles. Block 2008 will involve another six tests of increased difficulty.
The Army intends to build between 80 to 99 launchers, 18 ground based radars, and 1,422 interceptor missiles. Initial deployment is scheduled for 2008.
S-300 in Indian service reportedly failed during an exercise.
A dated but relevant article on the subject.
Separate names with a comma.