Space and Missile Defense Report

Table of Contents

MDA FY ’12 Budget Request Would Complete Initial GMD Fielding

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) requests $8.626 billion for fiscal year 2012 to fit plans to complete Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) initial fielding.

The fiscal 2012 defense budget advances the administration’s missile defense approach with a total request for $10.7 billion for ballistic missile defense programs, which includes the MDA request.

The FY ’12 budget includes an additional $780 million to increase regional radars, continue MDA’s flight test program, add additional ground-based interceptors (GBI), and hedge capabilities against potential threats. It also includes more than $2 billion for missile defense systems required to implement the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which will field its initial phase in the 2011 timeframe.

If Congress approves, MDA’s funds and planned efforts across the future years defense program budget would complete not only the initial fielding of GMD for homeland defense but would improve "initial regional defenses to provide at least two intercept opportunities by two interceptors against short- medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs, MRBMs and IRBMs, respectively)," agency budget documents said.

In FY ’11, MDA requested $8.4 billion, and the agency said as it developed the FY ’12 budget it "assumed the eventual approval of funding near the FY 2011 requested level…not the level in the continuing resolution (CR) based on the FY 2010 current level of $7.892 billion that has been in effect from October 2010 through our FY 2012 submission in February 2011."

Major missile defense contractors include Boeing [BA], Lockheed Martin [LMT], Northrop Grumman [NOC] and Raytheon [RTN].

The agency plans continue to hew to the policy priorities outlined last year in the Ballistic Missile Defense Review to deploy fiscally sustainable defenses that are "adaptable and flexible" to adjust to future threats and to expand international efforts.

MDA is developing and deploying regional missile defense in four phases. The first, initial integrated defense is scheduled for completion by 2011 to achieve an initial defensive capability against SRBMs, MRBMs and IRBMs.

Contributing to this will be the Aegis BMD 3.6.1 weapons system with SM-3 Block 1A interceptors, forward-based AN/TPY-2 and SPY-1 radars, and the C2BMC system at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. This system will improve connections to NATO command and control. Additionally, THAAD batteries will be available for deployment.

In support, MDA plans to deliver 25 THAAD interceptors for THAAD batteries 1 and 2.

MDA will also convert one ship to Aegis BMD 3.6.1 and two ships to Aegis BMD 4.0.1, and deliver 19 SM-3 Block 1A missiles and the first SM-3 Block 1B missile.

Additionally, MDA will work to finalize the first Foreign Military Sales case for missile defense with the United Arab Emirates. The United States intends to sell the THAAD system, including two THAAD batteries, 96 interceptors and support systems.

Key tests are also planned in FY 2011. Importantly, MDA created a Failure Review Board to investigate the causes and recommend fixes after a failure to intercept a long-range ballistic missile target in the FTG-06a flight test. "It is our number one goal to determine the root causes and correct the problems before repeating the flight test," documents said.

Among other key tests will be the first THAAD multiple intercept scenario in which two THAAD interceptors will engage two SRBM targets; the first Aegis launch on remote test; and the first intercept of the SM-3 Block 1B interceptor.

DoD To Let MEADS Program ‘Run Out,’ Budget Official Says

The United States plans to end its participation in the tri-national Medium Extended Air Defense System at the end of the design and development (D&D) phase, Defense Department officials said.

DoD will let the program "run out…so we don’t incur any termination liability" Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller/CFO) Robert Hale said recently at the DoD fiscal year 2012 budget briefing.

The United States has decided that the best course of action is to continue the D&D phase by providing funds up to the agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) cost ceiling of the equivalent of $4 billion in 2004 dollars.

The prime contractor for the program is MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Fla. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy, LFK in Germany and Lockheed Martin [LMT] in the United States.

The United States proposes focusing the remaining activities to implement a ‘proof of concept’ effort with the remaining MoU funds that will provide a meaningful capability for Germany and Italy and a possible future option for the United States, DoD documents said.

This re-focused proof of concept D&D program would end by 2014, consistent with the MoU expiration date and cost ceiling.

"We believe implementation of a proof of concept D&D program, using the remaining D&D MoU funds contributed by the three nations, is the best option for all MEADS partners," the documents said.

For one reason, also cited by Hale, funding MEADS up to the existing MoU cost ceiling enables all partners to harvest technology from large investment to date: The NATO MEADS Management Agency ()NAMEADSMA) is already developing an implementation plan for a D&D proof of concept effort that will use the remaining D&D MOU funding in 2011-13– approximately $804 million for the U.S. share–to complete prototypes, demonstrate and document the capabilities of the major system elements and complete limited system integration. This work would place the D&D program on stable footing should Germany and Italy wish to continue a MEADS development and production effort after the current MoU funding is expended. The same options would be available to the United States if its air defense plans should change.

Terminating the program now, just after successful completion of the MEADS Critical Design Review, would force the nations to devote significant funding to contractor termination costs instead of using this funding to bring MEADS development to a viable level of maturity.

The DoD document said the United States cannot afford to purchase MEADS and make required upgrades to Patriot concurrently over the next two decades: "The current NAMEADSMA program office estimate to complete the D&D program, which would extend into 2017 would, as noted above, require at least $974 million of additional U.S. investment during FY12-17. This is on top of the approximately $804 million already programmed for MEADS, which, in turn, is on top of the $1.5 billion the U.S. has funded to date for D&D. The U.S. cannot afford this additional R&D funding. Moreover, we estimate an additional $800 million would be required to complete U.S.-unique national certification, test and evaluation requirements, and integration of MEADS elements in the U.S. air and missile defense systems-of-systems if MEADS were fielded."

Further, due to the substantial delays in the development of MEADS, the U.S. Army would not be able to purchase MEADS to replace Patriot as early as originally planned.

Consequently, the costs of completing MEADS development and procuring MEADS to eventually replace Patriot would also require a significant concurrent investment in Patriot sustainment and modernization over the next two decades. Together, these costs are unaffordable in the current DoD budget environment.

The United States can achieve some of the capabilities that MEADS provides using existing assets, it said.

NASA Supporters: New Spending Plan Does Not Jibe With Law

President Barack Obama proposed an $18.7 billion NASA budget for fiscal year 2012 recently that some supporters of the space agency said does not jibe with Congress’ wishes.

The FY ’12 measure, which freezes NASA spending at FY ’10 levels, supports President Barack Obama’s plan to dismantle President George W. Bush’s Constellation space-exploration program and support the development of a commercial space industry.

Yet the request to Congress does not completely jibe with the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, which Obama signed into law last October and authorizes $58.4 billion for the agency from FY ’11 through FY ’13, NASA supporters said.

"We are disappointed with the proposed fiscal year 2012 budget for NASA of $18.7 billion, which represents a cut of $750 million from the authorized level and a major drop of more than $6.2 billion from the fiscal year 2011 request over the next four years," Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) President and Chief Executive Officer Marion Blakey said recently.

One difference between the NASA authorization measure and the FY ’12 appropriations measure unveiled recently is the level of funding for bolstering commercial space companies that could carry crew and cargo to low-Earth orbit. The appropriations bill would spend $850 million, while the authorization law calls for $612 million.

The newly proposed FY ’12 appropriations bill also contains approximately $1 billion less in funding for a new heavy-lift rocket than in the authorization measure, observers said.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Space and Science subcommittee, signaled recently he will try to change Obama’s FY ’12 NASA proposal.

"In this time of necessary budget cuts, NASA does well compared to most other agencies," Nelson, a one-time astronaut, said in a statement. "But the president’s budget does not follow the bi-partisan NASA law Congress passed late last year. The Congress will assert its priorities in the next six months."

NASA said in a statement recently that its FY ’12 budget proposal "supports all elements of NASA’s 2010 Authorization Act."

"This budget requires us to live within our means so we can invest in our future," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "It maintains our commitment to human spaceflight and provides for strong programs to continue the outstanding science, aeronautics research and education needed to win the future."

The FY ’12 proposal includes $3.9 billion for future exploration systems, $569 million for aeronautics research, $5 billion for science, and $4.3 billion for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs.

Panel To Scrutinize Obama’s Plans For Protecting Homeland From Missile Threat

A leading House lawmaker said recently he plans to scrutinize President Barack Obama’s plans for developing ground-based interceptors for the United States as a hedge in case Iranian missiles can reach the homeland before more-advanced protections are developed.

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee, previously raised concerns about the Pentagon’s so-called hedging strategy for protecting the homeland under its Phased Adaptive Approach to European missile defense. Now that he chairs the subcommittee, following Republicans’ takeover the House this year, he told reporters recently the Pentagon’s plan for a hedge, which he said may not adequately protect the homeland, will be an area of focus for him.

"I do remain concerned in the Phased Adaptive Approach that the administration has such a lag until the homeland is defended, and perhaps does not recognize some of the technological impediments that they’re going to face or the industrial base impediments," Turner said at a Capitol Hill press briefing.

"As (Obama administration officials are) now giving us more information as to how the Phased Adaptive Approach is implemented, we’re trying to cast that against what industry can actually do and what the technological impediments will be to accomplish the Phased Adaptive Approach," he added. "And there are gaps I think that put at risk their timeline. And if our ultimate goal is, and it certainly should be, the protection of the mainland of the United States, I think there are some issues."

Turner has kept a close eye on the Obama administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach to overseas missile defense, which it unveiled in September 2009 and replaces former President George W. Bush’s plan for placing ground-based interceptors in Poland and radars in the Czech Republic. The Phased Adaptive Approach calls for deploying ships equipped with Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system and Raytheon‘s [RTN] ship-based Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors before adapting to a ground-based setup for the SM-3 interceptors in Poland.

The Pentagon’s hedging strategy calls for maintaining a two-stage ground-based interceptor– part of Boeing‘s [BA] Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system for national missile defense–in this country in case Iran develops missiles that can reach the United States before the more-advanced land-based SM-3 interceptors emerge around 2020.

Turner fears Iran could develop ICBMs that could reach the United States as early as 2015.

He said Obama officials "haven’t really provided any real substances to what that hedge would be."

"They talk about maintaining the two-stage ground-base as a hedge strategy," he said. "You ask them under what circumstances would it ever then be deployed as a hedge, and they say we don’t envision any circumstance in which it would be deployed. Well, that’s not a hedge. But they do recognize that you need a hedge. They indicate that these threats could emerge more quickly. So, then, we need to push them on, well how are we going to respond to that threat. And they don’t have a very good answer for that."

Turner said he’s pleased that Obama has committed to increase missile defense funding. He said he believes U.S. policy-makers have moved beyond the question of whether missile defense is needed and if the technology works, and now are focused on determining which systems and capabilities should be in the missile-defense portfolio.

JAGM RFP Expected In Coming Weeks

ORLANDO–A final request for proposals (RFP) for a next-generation air-launched guided missile is expected in the coming weeks, according to one of the companies competing for the work.

The Pentagon is likely to release an RFP for the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) program "in the next couple of weeks," Frank St. John, Lockheed Martin‘s [LMT] vice president for tactical missiles, said here recently.

St. John said the two-month delay is due to some administrative changes within the Pentagon.

"Some acquisition policy changes have added peer reviews," he said during a press briefing. "We don’t expect any major changes" to the draft version.

Lockheed Martin is competing against a Raytheon [RTN]-Boeing [BA] team for the contract to produce the missile, which could be worth upward of $5 billion over the life of the program.

Last year, Raytheon landed a contract for the Air Force’s next-generation Small Diameter Bomb program, defeating a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team. Asked whether that contest bodes ill for Lockheed Martin’s chances with JAGM, St. John said he remains confident in a JAGM win because Lockheed Martin’s seeker technology was sound.

"The piece of technology we brought to that contest–the seeker–was very favorably reviewed by the Air Force," he said.

He added that the Air Force could begin buying JAGM for its drones once the technology is integrated onto the Army’s Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft.

"That would be a logical place for them to cut into the program," he said.

The air service could then consider integration onto fighter aircraft like the A-10, the F-16 and even the F-35, according to St. John. "But there is a lot of work to do before they’d ready to do that."

Lockheed Martin successfully completed a series of tests to demonstrate the flight characteristics of the Navy’s F/A-18E/F aircraft while carrying the company’s version of JAGM late last year.

St. John said recently that those tests "were considered a success by the Navy" and that the sea service is continuing that testing on its own. St. John said the F/A-18 could be configured to carry 18 JAGMs.

SBIRS GEO-1 Passes Final Factory Test Ahead of May Launch

The Air Force has finished final installations on the first geosynchronous (GEO-1) satellite of a new early missile warning system and successfully completed the spacecraft’s last factory confidence test before delivery to the launch site.

Final installations on the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-1 satellite included the spacecraft’s deployable light shade, solar arrays, thermal blankets, and flight batteries, according to prime contractor Lockheed Martin [LMT]. The fully integrated spacecraft successfully passed its final factory confidence test, the last major milestone in preparation for delivery to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., for a planned May 2011 launch aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.

"SBIRS GEO-1 will usher in a new era of critical missile warning capabilities vital to our national security," Col. Roger Teague, head of the Air Force’s Infrared Space Systems Directorate, said in a statement released recently.

As SBIRS GEO-1 prepares for shipment, the spacecraft’s flight software will complete its final qualification testing, and the ground segment team will conduct final readiness exercises in preparation to support launch and operations.

Last month, the Air Force and Lockheed Martin demonstrated the capability to transmit data between the spacecraft and flight control facilities and the ability of the integrated ground and space system to perform critical operations.

SBIRS is the next-generation U.S. early missile warning system. It is expected to replace the legacy Defense Support Program satellite. SBIRS has both scanning and staring sensors and is expected to provide new tactical support capabilities in addition to its strategic mission.

SBIRS Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) payloads have already been launched aboard classified satellites.

Lockheed Martin’s original SBIRS contract includes HEO payloads, two GEO satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The company is also under a follow-on production contract to deliver additional HEO payloads, third and fourth GEO satellites and associated ground modifications.

Last year, GEO-2 completed integration of its two equipment panels onto the spacecraft core module. GEO-2 is scheduled for launch in 2012, according to Air Force Space Command.

Northrop Grumman [NOC] is the SBIRS payload integrator, and Air Force Space Command is the operator.

AEHF-1 Upper Stage Failure Due To ‘Quality Issue,’ Air Force Says

ORLANDO–The Air Force and Lockheed Martin [LMT] are in discussions regarding potential financial penalties for a "quality issue" that prevented a new communications satellite from reaching its orbit.

Orbit-raising activities for the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite (AEHF-1) are going according to plan, Air Force officials said earlier this month. Shortly after the launch last August, the plan was modified as a result of an anomaly with the bi-propellant propulsion system, which was intended to place the spacecraft near its operational orbit.

"We are very fortunate that satellite didn’t blow up because of the failure of the upper stage," Gen. William Shelton, the head of Air Force Space Command, said during a speech recently at the Air Force Association’s annual winter meeting in Orlando.

AEHF is designed to provide the military and other government officials with protected, high capacity, high-speed communications. It is the successor to Milstar.

An accident failure board has reviewed the situation, Shelton told reporters at a press briefing following his speech.

"We have what we believe is root cause," he said. "We believe that it was a quality issue, let’s just put it that way."

Shelton declined to elaborate on the technical details due to the sensitive nature of the discussions with the contractor.

"The good news is that we’re going to get this thing to orbit and that we believe it will have a full life," he added. "But it’s been painful."

Prime contractor Lockheed Martin late last year received a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification valued at approximately $1.4 billion for production of the fourth AEHF space vehicle.

Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton earlier this week said the service remains committed to the AEHF satellite program. She said the Air Force is planning a new acquisition approach that would allow for the purchase of two AEHF satellites in fiscal 2012. The Pentagon requested $974 million for the AEHF program in FY’12.

Further, Shelton said recently that the Air Force must do more to make sure contractors deliver on what they promise.

"We have to write better contracts that hold the contractors accountable," he said.

"If all the risk is on the government and not the contractor, that is not a good strategy," he added. "Too many contracts written that way."

Shelton said he plans to make more fixed-price contracts in the future and avoid the kind of "discovery learning" that adds risk to a deal.

He said the Air Force must "get control of the cost" of space programs more generally.

"Certainly we’ve become the poster child for things that are late and expensive," he said.

U.S.-Israel Arrow Anti-Missile System Conducts Successful Intercept Test

The developmental Arrow missile defense system, a U.S.-Israeli joint venture, successfully intercepted a ballistic target missile during a flight test conducted last week, the U.S. government said in a press statement.

The test was conducted jointly by the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency at the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division-Pt. Mugu Sea Range.

The target missile was launched from a mobile launch platform off the coast of California, within the Pt. Mugu test range, on Feb. 22 at 10:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The target was representative of potential ballistic-missile threats facing Israel, according to the release.

The system’s radar successfully detected and tracked the target and transferred information to the battle-management-control system. Arrow launched an interceptor missile, which performed its planned trajectory and destroyed the target missile. The test represented a realistic scenario, according to the two governments, which said all the elements of the system "performed in their operational configuration."

The main contractor for the integration and the development of Arrow is the MLM division of the Israel Aerospace Industries. The radar is developed by ELTA Industries, and the battle management system is developed by Tadiran Electronic Systems, Ltd.

Air Force Demos Comms Between FAB-T and Milstar

The Air Force has successfully demonstrated over-the-air, low-data-rate communication between an orbiting Milstar satellite and the Family of Advanced Beyond line-of-sight Terminal (FAB-T), the service announced recently.

The Jan. 26 demonstration included a series of uplink and downlink communication tests that involved passing voice and data communication between a third-generation (Block 8) FAB-T unit and the legacy Milstar satellite, according to an Air Force press release. The FAB-T unit used its low-data-rate software to transmit through its newly developed large aircraft antenna.

"This successful FAB-T test demonstrates the continuous progress made by the dedicated team that is building this critical Nuclear Command and Control Network Communications System," said Dave Madden, MILSATCOM systems director at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB. "This over-the-air test demonstrated for the first time that the more advanced Block 8 terminal can communicate with the Milstar satellite, and serve as a network node with two legacy Milstar terminals."

The Block 8 FAB-T terminal offers high-data-rate communications with Advanced Extremely High FrequencyEHF) satellites, but also provides backward capability with legacy Milstar satellites using low-data-rate communications.

"These tests validated system interoperability by demonstrating both voice and data communication," Madden said. "They follow successful risk-reduction flight testing, as well as an intersegment test of the terminal communicating with the AEHF satellite payload on the ground."

Prime contractor Boeing [BA] and its industry team will conduct a series of terminal integration, software testing and flight testing activities before building this survivable, secure command-and-control system, according to the Air Force. Boeing is developing both low-data-rate and high-data-rate terminals and software as part of the overall system. Successful testing of an earlier version of the low-data-rate terminal software assessed signal acquisition and data downlink and was completed in September 2007.

The Boeing System Integration and Testing Lab in Huntington Beach includes 12 FAB-T systems with connections to three antennas, allowing simultaneous over-the-air operation. This facility will support in-depth FAB-T system integration tests in 2011.

"We’re on track to complete hardware and qualification testing later this year," said John Lunardi, Boeing vice president and FAB-T program manager. "We have more than 80 percent of the hardware qualification testing and nearly 65 percent of the software qualification testing completed."

The FAB-T products include software-defined radios capable of protected communication, antennas and associated user interface hardware and software that will provide the government with a survivable and powerful system. The program is scheduled to enter flight testing in the first quarter of 2013 and exercise low-rate initial production option in fiscal year 2013.

FAB-T is managed by the MILSATCOM Systems Directorate at Los Angeles AFB.

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