Tag: Missile

Taking Down Drones With a £26,000 Stinger Missile Feels Like Overkill

Last week, an amateur drone pilot landed his DJI quadcopter on the deck of Britain’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier. The incident was accidental, but highlights the irony of how difficult it is to neutralise threats from smaller aircraft like drones that are slowly filling the skies. But perhaps modifying a missile that can hit speeds of mach 2.2 isn’t the best solution to the problem?

Back in April, at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the Army National Guard tested a modified pair of Raytheon’s Stinger anti-air missiles that were upgraded with proximity fuzes that explode in the vicinity of a target, intercepting “two small unmanned airborne systems” for the first time.

The missiles, which can be launched from a shoulder-mounted cannon or from attack helicopters, have a range of about five miles, and use an electronic guidance and control system to hit easily hit flying targets like aircraft or cruise missiles. Each one comes with a $38,000 (£29,638) price tag, and Raytheon isn’t just pitching them for use against aircraft like the 48-foot-wide, $4 million (£3.1m) Predator drone.

The company thinks its Stinger missiles are legitimately a viable solution to taking out much smaller drones that are highly manoeuvrable and much harder to detect and engage in the air. There’s little doubt this solution would be effective, as the Stingers have been used in combat for years now. But it seems like an incredibly expensive, and potentially dangerous way to take down aircraft flying at low altitudes.

Technologies like electromagnetic cannons that prevent a drone pilot from properly controlling their craft seem like a much safer and affordable solution to the problem. There is something strangely satisfying, however, about watching a missile that can take out helicopters vaporising what’s essentially an overgrown hobby drone.

Guam, Japan prepare for possible North Korea missile launch

SANTA RITA, Guam. An aerial view of U.S. Naval Base Guam. Naval Base Guam supports the U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Hagatña, Guam (CNN) North Korean military figures are putting the final touches on a plan to fire four missiles into the waters around the US-territory of Guam, to be presented to leader Kim Jong Un within days.

In a statement last week, Gen. Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army, said the plan to fire “four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets … to signal a crucial warning to the US” would be ready by “mid-August.”

Recent days have seen a significant escalation of tensions in the region as preparations are put in place for a possible launch in Guam, Japan and South Korea.

A notice put out by Guam’s Joint Information Center Saturday warned residents how to prepare “for an imminent missile threat.”

“Do not look at the flash or fireball — it can blind you,” the note said. “Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit.”

Guam’s Homeland Security Adviser George Charfauros said Friday it would take 14 minutes for a missile fired from North Korea to reach Guam.

Japan missile defense deployed

On Saturday, some of Japan’s land-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile interceptors began arriving at Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) bases in three of the four prefectures any North Korean missiles would likely fly over en route to Guam.

Pyongyang identified three of those areas — Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi prefectures — in its statement last week.

A spokesman for SDF said the missiles were being deployed not to intercept missiles, but rather “just in case.” He did not elaborate.

Sim Tack, a senior analyst for private intelligence firm Stratfor, said the Japanese batteries are designed for protecting the area where they are deployed, “(they are) not meant to shoot missiles out of the sky as they pass over Japan at high altitude.”

“So unless those North Korean missiles were to fall short, the Patriots shouldn’t have a function to serve in this particular case,” he said.
Japanese Ballistic Missile Defense Scenario

The SDF spokesman said the country’s Aegis ballistic missile defense system was deployed in the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, but would not give a specific location.

Aegis is able to track 100 missiles simultaneously and fire interceptors to take out an enemy’s ballistic projectiles.

In South Korea, where both the military and civilians are used to facing threats from North Korea, Defense Minister Song Young-moo warned the country’s armed forces “to maintain full readiness” to “immediately punish with powerful force” any action against the South.

“Recently, North Korea made its habitual absurd remarks that it will turn Seoul into a sea of fire and that it will strike near Guam,” Song said according to ministry official. “North Korea raising tension (on the Peninsula) is a serious challenge against the South Korean-US alliance and the international community.”

Meanwhile, US-South Korean joint military exercises are due to begin later this month. The annual exercises, called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, are expected to run from August 21 to 31.

Calls for calm

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders have called for calm as both Pyongyang and Washington upped their saber-rattling rhetoric.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump doubled down on his statement that he would unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Pyongyang continued its threats, saying in a tweet that “military solutions” were “locked and loaded” for use against North Korea.

According to a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi told Trump in a call between the two leaders Saturday all “relevant parties parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described escalation as “the wrong answer,” while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Trump’s statements were “very worrying.”

Last week, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English criticized Trump’s “fire and fury” comments as “not helpful in an environment that’s very tense.”

French President Emmanuel Macron called for the international community to work with North Korea to “resume the path of dialogue without conditions,” following a call with Trump Saturday.

Washington has previously said it will consider talks with Pyongyang if it agrees to give up its nuclear weapons program, a pre-condition North Korean officials have described as a non-starter.

Guam waits for news

At a church in central Guam Sunday, parishioners sang “Lord, we pray for world peace” after discussing the potential North Korean threat.

“There’s a lot of disbelief going on, there’s a lot of anxiety,” Father Paul Gofigan told CNN after the mass.

Gofigan said there is not a lot of panic in Guam, and that people’s faith — the island has been overwhelmingly Catholic since the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the 17th century– has been on display in recent days.

“Faith is so deeply rooted into our culture,” he said.

The territory’s governor, Eddie Baza Calvo, said he spoke with Trump and the President’s chief of staff, John Kelly, on Saturday.

“Both assured me that the people of Guam are safe,” Calvo wrote on Facebook. “In the President’s words they are behind us ‘1,000 percent.’ As the head of the Government of Guam, I appreciate their reassurances that my family, my friends, everyone on this island, are all safe.”

As an unincorporated US territory, citizens of Guam cannot vote in general elections. The island is also home to a large US military presence, a fact that has led to tension with some local residents, particularly those of the indigenous Chamorro community.

“Nobody really deserves to be caught in the middle of these games,” said Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, an activist who campaigns for a lowered military presence.

“You’re playing with people’s lives. We just want peace, we just want to continue to enjoy our lives here.”

 

North Korea threatens missile strike on Guam that will create an ‘enveloping fire’

North Korea said it is “carefully examining” plans to attack Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles, state-run media reported Wednesday.

The rogue nation’s statement follows President Donald Trump‘s comments hours before, during which he warned North Korea that any threats to the U.S. “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen”

The North Korean army made the announcement in a statement distributed by its state-run news agency that the military is reviewing a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around the U.S. territory, located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,100 miles from North Korea.

The statement said the decision to review such plans is in response to a recent ICBM test.

There are 7,000 US military personnel on Guam.

The main base on the island is Andersen Air Force Base that is home to long-range B-1 bombers that have recently been used for “show of force” missions to South Korea following North Korea’s two ICBM missile launches.

A pair of B-1B Strategic Bombers based in Guam

Andersen Air Force Base is just one of the installations on Guam; Naval Base Guam also has a significant number of personnel.

Guam’s offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense said in a statement that its threat level remained unchanged, and that it will “continue to monitor the recent events surrounding North Korea and their threatening actions.”

Homeland Security adviser George Charfauros said in a statement, “As of this morning, we have not changed our stance in confidence that the U.S. Department of Defense is monitoring this situation very closely and is maintaining a condition of readiness, daily. We will continue to keep the public updated on any changes or requests for action. For now, we advise the community to remain calm, remember that there are defenses in place for threats such as North Korea and to continue to remain prepared for all hazards.”

Charfauros is in regular contact with the federal Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. He has not received any guidance that there is an imminent threat, Guam Homeland Security said.

Still, the speaker of the Guam Legislature told The Associated Press he hopes the island can defend itself in the event of a North Korean attack.

“We’re just praying that the United States and the … defense system we have here is sufficient enough to protect us,” Benjamin J. Cruz said.

Cruz said the threat is “very disconcerting,” adding, “It forces us to pause and to say a prayer for the safety of our people.”

Guam’s governor, Eddie Calvo, released a two-minute video message to the island’s residents, in which he said, “I want to ensure that we are prepared for any eventuality.”

 

 

 

 

USS George Washington starting four-year overhaul

The U.S. Navy’s sixth aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, is set to arrive at Newport News Shipbuilding on Friday to begin its four-year mid-life refit after 25 years of service.

This was announced by Newport News Shipbuilding president Jennifer Boykin who said the company had been working under a planning contract for almost three years and recently signed an agreement to begin execution work.

During the refit, also known as refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH), and the follow-on outfitting period, nearly all combat systems equipment on the carrier will be refurbished, upgraded or replaced with newer technology.

The ship will receive upgraded weapons systems; to include Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), Evolved NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System, Close-In Weapons System (CIWS), Mk-38 25mm automatic gun systems, and anti-torpedo defense systems.

Consolidated afloat networks and enterprise services (CANES) will become the new ship-wide network, which will include a new video distribution and surveillance systems, and the mast and the SPN-49 radar tower will be cut off and replaced with a modern design.

Announcing the arrival of CVN 73, Boykin added that major upgrades will be also performed on the aircraft launch and recovery systems.

USS George Washington follows in the footsteps of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) which was redelivered to the navy in May this year, after spending four years in the same shipyard undergoing RCOH.

 

Selva Stresses Urgency of Delivering Columbia Class On Time

Navy Increases Design Support for its New Fleet of Nuclear-Armed “Columbia- Class” Submarines

The nation’s second highest military officer is worried about the defense industry’s ability to deliver the critical components of the nuclear deterrent modernization on time, specifically warning that the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs) are scheduled to sail until “the absolute end of their service life.”

“There is no slack in our ability to deliver the Columbia class” submarines that are to replace the Ohio-class SSBNs, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Aug. 3.
“If we don’t replace the Ohio class with Columbia, we won’t have a sea-based deterrent,” Selva told a Mitchell Institute breakfast on nuclear deterrence.

The Navy already has extended the service life of the 14 Ohio subs to 40 years, and plans to begin building the first of 12 Columbia-class boomers by 2021 and have it in service by 2029. But Navy officials have warned that if the Ohios are not replaced on time, their hulls may be unable to take the pressure of operating at their normal depth.

A May report by the Congressional Research Service projected that even if the first Columbia is operational in 2029, the SSBN fleet will have dropped to 12 because the three oldest Ohio-class boats will have been decommissioned. The long-range plan for 12 Columbia SSBNs is based on the expectation that the new submarines will not have to be taken out of service for maintenance and upgrades as often, allowing 10 operational boomers at all times.

The nuclear deterrent Triad includes an air leg, currently consisting of B-52s, some of which are nearly 50 years old, and the 19 newer B-2s; and a ground-based leg of 400 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The Air Force is pushing development of the B-21 Raider to replace the B-52s and a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman missiles.

Selva said there was “no alternative” to replacing the current nuclear deterrent Triad because “nuclear weapons pose the only existential threat to the United States.” That is why, maintaining and modernizing the Triad is “the most important mission of the Defense Department,” he said.

Selva emphasized that the program was to replace, not modernize, the Triad. He noted that an essential part of the replacement program was the nuclear command and control network, which has components that include 1950s vacuum tubes.

In describing the threat that the nuclear deterrent Triad must counter, Selva listed Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, noting that Iran is the only one that does not have nuclear weapons, which he attributed to the multinational agreement that has frozen Tehran’s program.

Asked about the threat from North Korea, which has staged multiple tests of nuclear devices with increasing power, and in July conducted two tests of ballistic missiles that may have the range to hit the United States, Selva said “before we can assume that North Korea has the ability to strike the United States with a nuclear weapon,” it would have to demonstrate four capabilities.

The Pentagon believes North Korea has a missile with adequate range, does not believe it has a missile with the guidance, control and stability to deliver a warhead without breaking up; does not know if it has a re-entry vehicle that can survive the heat and pressure; and does not know if it has a warhead that can survive re-entry.

Independent analysts have reported that in the last ICBM test, which appeared to have the range to hit the United States, the re-entry vehicle apparently broke up before reaching the surface.

But, Selva added, he could not rule out North Korea correcting those problems because people can learn “some interesting things if they are willing to fail.” And North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un “is willing to fail.”

Royal Air Force Pilots Test Advanced Weapons and Software Upgrades for Eurofighter

RAF Eurofighter EF.2000 Typhoon FGR.4

A new package of advanced weapons, software and avionics enhancements for the Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet is being trialled by Royal Air Force Test and Evaluation pilots at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, ahead of roll-out across the UK fleet.

The work forms a major part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure seamless transition of capability from the Tornado GR4 to Typhoon.

Operational testing and evaluation of the upgrades, known as the Project Centurion Phase 1 capability package, includes trials of MBDA’s Meteor ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air and Storm Shadow deep attack air-to-surface missile software systems. The test work is being supported by BAE Systems.

Meteor will bring an extreme ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air capability to Typhoon. It is an active radar guided missile designed to provide a multi-shot capability against long-range, moving targets, such as fast jets, small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and cruise missiles, in dense electronic warfare environments. Storm Shadow will introduce a stand-off air-to-surface capability, enhancing Typhoon’s abilities against well-defended infrastructure targets.

The test work follows trial installation work and subsequent upgrade of six aircraft. The work was completed by the Royal Air Force’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – and supported by teams from BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire. The aircraft and support products used in the trials were generated by Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo – supported by MBDA.

James Glazebrook, Head of UK Centurion and Eurofighter Capability Programmes at BAE Systems Military Air & Information, said: “Planned testing and evaluation by 41(R) Squadron is now well underway. This is another important milestone on the Project Centurion programme and has been achieved through hard work and excellent collaboration between our teams and the Royal Air Force.”

The work also includes a number of new UK-only national capabilities, which will bring additional human machine interface and other improvements, specifically required by the Royal Air Force, to the aircraft. Operational testing and evaluation will include ground test and flight test work as well familiarisation for the pilots and ground crew with new features introduced by the upgrades.

BAE Systems will continue to increase the capability of the Phase 1 package ahead of scheduled customer firings of the Meteor and Storm Shadow weapons. This will lead to eventual entry into service of the upgrades, scheduled for early 2018. The next and final stage of Project Centurion includes the integration of the Brimstone high precision, low collateral air-to-surface missile on to the aircraft. The first live firing of a Brimstone missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon was successfully completed in early July 2017.

 

US vice president Pence wants Patriot missiles in Estonia to deter Russia

The Patriot Missile and Air Defense System

The US is considering deploying Patriot surface-to-air missiles in Estonia, US Vice President Mike Pence told Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas on Sunday.

The U.S. Patriot defense system is a mobile, ground-based system designed to intercept missiles and warplanes.
Estonian Prime Minister Ratas said the two leaders talked about the upcoming Russian military manoeuvres planned for near the Estonian border, “and how Estonia, the United States, and NATO should monitor them and exchange information.”

Pence, on the first stop of a trip that will also take him to Georgia and Montenegro, said in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, that Washington stands with the Baltic nations and other allies in Eastern Europe that have expressed concerns about Russia’s intentions in their respective regions.

“Our message to the Baltic states — my message when we visit Georgia and Montenegro — will be the same: To our allies here in Eastern Europe, we are with you, we stand with you on behalf of freedoms,” Pence said in an interview with Fox News.

Ratas said in a statement that the US was vital to the security of the region.

“NATO’s collective position of deterrence and defense has strengthened in the Baltic region and the USA is indispensable to ensuring the security of our immediate neighborhood, as well as all of Europe,” Ratas said.

Estonian troops conducting an exercise on NATOs Eastern Flank.

Lithuania said it was eager to have Patriot missiles when the US military displayed the system in the country earlier this month after using them in an exercise there. Anti-aircraft defense is seen as one of NATO’s weaknesses in the Baltic states.

From Estonia, Pence is scheduled to make stops in Georgia and the newest NATO member, Montenegro.
Estonia and Montenegro are members of NATO, while Georgia has expressed hopes of joining the Western alliance.

Asked about Trump’s commitment to NATO’s mutual-defense provision, Pence told reporters in Tallinn that the U.S. administration has “made it clear that the policy of our administration is to stand firmly with our NATO allies and to stand firmly behind our Article 5 commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all.”

In Georgia, officials said Pence will highlight U.S. support for the Caucasus nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said on July 27 that Pence’s visit will demonstrate that the United States continues to support Georgia in building a stronger military force.

During Pence’s visit, some 800 Georgian and 1,600 U.S. troops are taking part in the previously planned Noble Partner 2017 exercises. Pence is scheduled to meet with U.S. troops.

Troops from Britain, Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, Slovenia, and Armenia are also taking part.

“The vice president’s presence here is definitely showing that this is not only about military exercises, but it is also showing unification with our values, with our foreign policy targets, and showing a clear message that we are together,” Margvelashvili said.On the last stop, Pence will welcome NATO’s newest member with his stop in Montenegro, whose accession to the alliance in June has infuriated Russia.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas.

On August 2, he will attend the Adriatic Charter Summit in Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, U.S. officials said.

Pence was expected to highlight the U.S. commitment to the Western Balkans and stress the need for good governance, political reforms, and rule of law in the region.

The leaders of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia are also scheduled to attend the summit.

Source: NEWEUROPE.

Alaska-based THAAD system intercepts target missile over Pacific

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, during Flight Test.

A medium-range ballistic missile was intercepted over the Pacific Ocean early Sunday during a test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, the Missile Defense Agency said.

The target missile, air-launched by an Air Force C-17, was detected, tracked and intercepted by a THAAD battery at Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, an MDA statement said. It didn’t specify exactly where the missile was stopped.

Soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade out of Fort Bliss, Texas, conducted launcher, fire-control and radar operations using the same procedures they would use in a real-world scenario, the statement said. The team was not aware of when the target missile would be launched.

“In addition to successfully intercepting the target, the data collected will allow MDA to enhance the THAAD weapon system, our modeling and simulation capabilities, and our ability to stay ahead of the evolving threat,” Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, MDA’s director, said in the statement.

The exercise comes not long after North Korea test-fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile this month. The ICBM launched late Friday splashed down into the Sea of Japan about 620 miles east of the launch site in the country’s far northwest, a Pentagon statement said.

The U.S. military, which detected and tracked the missile throughout its flight, determined it posed no threat to North America.

Source: Stars and Stripes.

South Korea to Deploy 4 More Anti-missile Units

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, during Flight Test THAAD, July 11, 2017.

South Korea said Saturday it will proceed with the deployment of four additional units of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system after North Korea’s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The deployment of the additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defenae (THAAD) units had been delayed after the initial two units, after South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered an environmental assessment.

China has been notified of the move to speed up the deployment, the South’s presidential Blue House said.

China’s Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern Saturday about South Korea decision to proceed with the deployment of the additional units.

The deployment will not resolve South Korea’s security concerns and will only make things more complex, the ministry said, reiterating a Chinese call for the system to be withdrawn.

North Korea said earlier Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that proved its ability to strike all of America’s mainland.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is an American anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach. THAAD was developed after the experience of Iraq’s Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War in 1991. The THAAD interceptor carries no warhead, but relies on its kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile. A kinetic energy hit minimizes the risk of exploding conventional warhead ballistic missiles, and nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will not detonate upon a kinetic energy hit.

Originally a United States Army program, THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency. The Navy has a similar program, the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which now has a land component as well (“Aegis ashore”). THAAD was originally scheduled for deployment in 2012, but initial deployment took place in May 2008. THAAD has been deployed in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and South Korea.

The THAAD system is being designed, built, and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space Systems acting as prime contractor. Key subcontractors include Raytheon, Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Defense, MiltonCAT and the Oliver Capital Consortium.

On 6 March 2017, two THAAD launcher trucks arrived by air transport at Osan Air Base South Korea, for a deployment. Earlier that day, North Korea had launched 4 missiles. A Reuters article stated that with the THAAD defense system, a North Korean missile barrage would still pose a threat to South Korea, while an article in the International Journal of Space Politics & Policy said that South Korean forces already possess Patriot systems for point defense and Aegis destroyers capable of stopping ballistic missiles that may come from the north, in a three-layer antimissile defense for South Korea. On 16 March 2017, a THAAD radar arrived in South Korea. The THAAD system is kept at Osan Air Base until the site where the system is due to be deployed is prepared, with an expected ready date of June 2017. Osan Air Base has blast-hardened command posts with 3 levels of blast doors.

By 25 April 2017, six trailers carrying the THAAD radar, interceptor launchers, communications, and support equipment entered the Seongju site. On 30 April 2017, it was reported that South Korea would bear the cost of the land and facilities for THAAD, while the US will pay for operating it. On 2 May 2017, Moon Sang-gyun, with the South Korean Defense Ministry and Col. Robert Manning III, a spokesman for the U.S. military announced that the THAAD system in Seongju is operational and “has the ability to intercept North Korean missiles and defend South Korea.” It was reported that the system will not reach its full operational potential until later this year when additional elements of the system are onsite. In June 2017 South Korea decided to halt further deployment. The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (United States) has integrated THAAD into its layered defense on the Korean Peninsula.

Even in the face of a North Korean ICBM test on 4 July 2017, which newly threatens Alaska, a Kodiak, Alaska-based THAAD interceptor test (FTT-18) against a simulated attack by an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile had long been planned. FTT-18 was successfully completed by Battery A-2 THAAD (Battery A, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (United States) on 11 July 2017. The soldiers used the procedures of an actual combat scenario and were not aware of the IRBM’s launch time.

Also in 2017 another Kodiak launch of a THAAD interceptor is scheduled between 7:30PM and 1:30AM on Saturday 29 July, Sunday 30 July, or Monday 31 July, at alternative times. North Korea is apparently positioning launch equipment in Kusong in preparation for a 27 July holiday. Lee Jong-kul, of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s Minjoo Party states “The nuclear and missile capabilities of North Korea…have been upgraded to pose serious threats; the international cooperation system to keep the North in check has been nullified..”, citing tensions over the U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in South Korea.

Source: Voice of America News.

Which US cities could North Korea’s ballistic missile hit?

 

The US believes North Korea fired a missile shortly before midnight Japan time, or 11 a.m. ET on Friday, a defense official confirmed to Business Insider.

Kim, announcing the second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, said it demonstrated that North Korea could launch “at any place and time.” The KCNA also quoted him as saying that “the test confirmed all the US mainland is within our striking range.”

But should these claims be taken seriously? Can North Korean ICBMs really strike any target in the US? After all, North Korean leaders are known for exaggerating their nuclear and missile program achievements.

Read: What is an intercontinental ballistic missile?

Standard trajectory and altitude

But it seems that Pyongyang is not entirely incorrect about its ICMB claims.

Military analysts say the latest North Korean ballistic missile appeared to have a range of around 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles), which would put the US mainland within its reach.

“Based on current information, today’s missile test by North Korea could easily reach the US West Coast, and a number of major US cities,” arms expert David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists said on his blog.

Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago appear to be well within range of the ICBM, which may also be capable of hitting Boston and New York, Wright said.

North Korean officials said the latest missile had flown for 47 minutes and reached an altitude of more than 3,700 kilometers. On a standard trajectory, the missile would have a range of 10,400 kilometers.

*It is reported that the ‘Taepodong 2’ ICBM has been tested.

 

Earth’s rotation boosts range

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, North Korea launched its missile on high trajectory to allow it to fall in the Sea of Japan, rather then flying over Japan. However, it was still possible to make the calculation about the range.

If fired eastward, the rotation of the Earth could also increase the range of the missile, meaning the missiles have different ranges depending on the direction they are fired in.

Los Angeles is at a distance of 9,500 kilometers from North Korea, and the calculated range of the missile toward the city is 11,700 kilometers, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. If fired in the direction of Boston, the missile range would be 10,750 – still just about enough to reach the city.

New York would also be roughly in range, but Washington DC would probably be just outside the strike area.

The organization stressed that the missile range also depends on the mass of the payload it carries. A heavier payload than that used in the test flight might mean the range would be reduced.

Source: DW.

Russian airborne divisions get advanced portable air defense systems

Verba man-portable air defense missile system wikimedia.org/Vitaly V. Kuzmin.

PATRIOT PARK (Moscow Region), All the Russian airborne and air assault divisions have been rearmed with Verba new man-portable air defense missile systems, Airborne Force Commander Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov said on Thursday.

“We are currently completing the delivery of the fourth-generation Verba man-portable air defense missile systems to the Airborne Force. As of today, all airborne divisions have been supplied with these systems and now efforts are under way to deliver them to separate airborne assault brigades in a planned manner,” the commander said on the eve of the 87th anniversary of establishing the Russian Airborne Force.

The Command Post Exercise with the Russian 98th Guards Airborne Division.

The Verba man-portable air defense missile systems are capable of striking tactical aviation planes, attack helicopters, cruise missiles and remotely controlled aircraft in oncoming and catch-up courses in daytime and at night in the conditions of the target’s visual visibility, including amid background and artificial interference.

The new systems are capable of hitting targets with low infrared emissions in a head-on engagement at the far boundary of the destruction zone at extremely low altitudes, the commander said.

As compared to their predecessors, the new short-range air defense missile systems feature expanded combat capabilities and destroy targets highly effectively, despite powerful optical counter-measures, the commander said.

As compared to the previous man-portable air defense missile systems, the Verba complex has its area of engaging targets with low emissions increased several times and its protection against powerful pyrotechnical interference boosted several dozen times.

While the procedure of using the new man-portable air defense missile system in combat is similar to the procedure of employing its predecessors, the Verba system needs a smaller number of missiles for striking a target while the temperature range of its use has been expanded to minus 50 degrees Celsius, the commander said.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.