Google Image Result for http://www.ausairpower.net/Green-Pine-BMD-Radar-1S.jpg THAAD launch (US DoD). Background Ballistic missiles and cruise missiles are the most rapidly growing category of offensive weapon in Asia, in response to which we are seeing increased planning for investment in defensive measures. The recent announcement that Japan and Australia were likely to participate in a feasibility study on ballistic missile defences, and Japan's overt pursuit of the F-22A Raptor fighter for cruise missile defence, are both indicators of a developing trend. Resources 1. PRC Theater Missile Systems - Theater Missile Systems - China Nuclear Forces 2. Indian Missile Programs - Indian Missile Programs - Special Weapons 3. Pakistan Missile Programs - Pakistan Missile Special Weapons Delivery Systems 4. DPRK Missile Programs - Missiles - North Korea Special Weapons Regional Theatre Ballistic Missile Capabilities The biggest user of ballistic missiles in Asia is the China, followed by North Korea, India, and Pakistan. The most numerous weapons are theatre oriented, either Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBM) or Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM), with Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) operated by China and being developed by India and North Korea. China operates a wide range of weapons. Legacy weapons include the DF-3/DF-3A (2800 km), DF-4 (4,750 km), and the DF-5/DF-5A (13,000 km). TBMs include the M-7 (160 km), DF-11/M-11 (300 km), the DF-15/M-9 (500 km), the primary IRBM and SLBM is the DF-21/JL-1 series (1,800 km), supplemented by the DF-25 (1,800 km). Modern ICBMs include the developmental DF-31 and DF-41 series. There are claims China is adapting the DF-21 with terminal guidance as an anti-shipping weapon. India's capabilities are modest in comparison, and include the Prithvi TBM in three variants, with ranges between 150 and 350 km, and the navalised Dhanush with 250 km class range, recently tested. IRBM capability is provided by the Agni I (900 km) and Agni II (1,800 km). The Agni III is a developmental ICBM derivative. Pakistan has been very active in developing TBMs and IRBMs, mostly based on Chinese and North Korean technology. The indigenous Hatf 1 and 2 spans ranges between 100 and 280 km, the M-11 Shaheen, M-9 Shaheen I and the M-18 Shaheen II are Chinese technology, and the Ghauri I is an IRBM based on the Korean No-Dong. The DPRK has been very active in developing IRBM and ICBM technology, as part of its long running strategy of extracting concessions by WMD blackmail of regional powers. The regime has also been a primary supplier to Iran, and partly to Pakistan. The DPRK has three families of missiles, based on the R-11/SS-1 Scud, the R-21/SS-N-5 Sark, and the R-27/SS-N-6 Serb. The Hwa-Song 5 and 6 are stretched Scud B/C/D TBMs, the No Dong A IRBM a derivative of the Soviet R-21, and the No Dong B the Soviet R-27. The Taepo Dong 1 and 2 are three stage ICBM growth variants of the No Dong series, with the capability to reach the US or Australia. Defending Against Ballistic Missiles The best defensive strategy against all standoff missiles, be they ballistic or cruise missile class weapons, is to pre-emptively attack and destroy the launch platform. This was true in 1944 when the first V-1 and V-2 weapons were deployed and remains true today – 'killing the archer rather than the arrow'. This is unfortunately easier said than done, and counterforce air strikes against mobile missile launchers have been bedevilled with targeting problems since 1944 – the US Air Force effort against Saddam's Scud force in 1991 represents the most recent example. With ballistic and cruise missiles more recently deployed on submarines and surface warships, the problem gains a further dimension. Ground based mobile launchers however represent the greatest difficulty, as these are highly mobile and easily concealed. Users favour the 'shoot and scoot' strategy, and tracking weapons post launch leaves a very narrow time window to locate and kill the launcher before it departs. Interception of both cruise missiles and ballistic missiles in flight is challenging, and it is an open question as to which is the more difficult target. Ballistic missiles are characteristically easy to detect and track once launched, but their hypersonic terminal phase velocity represents a real problem for defensive weapon systems. The problem is often described as 'hitting a bullet with another bullet', and the problem increases in difficulty as the range of the missile and its terminal velocity increase. Killing a Scud B is easier than killing an IRBM, and killing an IRBM in turn is easier than killing an ICBM. Three strategies are possible for interception of ballistic missiles. Boost phase intercept sees the slow moving and highly visible by exhaust plume missile attacked, midcourse phase intercept sees the warhead and if attached, final stage attacked at the apex of its trajectory, and terminal phase intercept involves engagement of the warhead section as it dives on the target. Boost phase intercept is the easiest from a detection, tracking and kinematic perspective. The exhaust plume can be seen from orbit, and hundreds of kilometres away in the air. The missile is climbing at a supersonic speed, and early in the boost phase, will have all of its stages attached presenting a large radar target. The difficulty with boost phase intercept is that the defending aircraft, be it equipped with an interceptor missile or directed energy Weapon (DEW), must be near enough to the launcher to effect a timely shot. Where the missile user has good 'anti-access' capability, via Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) and fighter aircraft, this becomes a challenging problem. Much of the justification for the design of the stealthy Northrop B-2A Spirit bomber was the hunting of highly mobile Soviet ICBM launchers. Fighters equipped with interceptor missiles are presented with a high risk environment in which they must orbit for many hours awaiting unpredictable ballistic missile launches, either to effect a boost phase shot, or to kill the launcher. Mid course phase intercepts are arguably the most challenging from a detection and tracking perspective, as the missile is at the peak of its trajectory, and having shed booster stages is a small and cool radar target. Kinematically, mid course phase intercepts are demanding in terms of altitude, even if the missile's speed is modest as it flies across the top of the ballistic arc. Terminal phase intercepts sees the delivery vehicle produce a prominent ionisation trail and heat signature, as ablative coatings evaporate during re-entry. The ionisation plume provides a radar signature much larger than the vehicle itself, permitting a tracking system to cue precisely to the position of the warhead. The principal tracking challenge is discrimination between the re-entry vehicle and debris or countermeasures re-entering concurrently. The latter proved a major issue for Patriot intercepts of the Scud in 1991. Kinematics then become the primary challenge for a defender's missiles. Cruise missile defence is conceptually simpler, but technically no less difficult. This is because cruise missiles are low signature targets, with small radar cross sections in most bands and cool exhausts mostly – only supersonic cruise missiles have an appreciable heat signature. Flying low altitude terrain following profiles, cruise missiles are often routed to take advantage of terrain to further effect terrain masking, and hide the missile in the radar shadow of valleys and hills. Radars with high power aperture performance, usually in the X-band, are the sensor of choice for hunting cruise missiles. While in principle any air to air or surface to air missile can be used for this purpose, in practice fusing and seeker modifications are typically required to provide a high kill probability.