VANDENBERG AFB, Calif., June 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the
Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA), www.missiledefenseadvocacy.org,
has analyzed the recent missile test held out at Vandenberg Air Force
Base yesterday. Ellison is one of the top lay experts in the field of
missile defense in the country. His comments are outlined below:
"Out of silo LF-24,
nestled in a small berm alongside the Pacific Ocean at Vandenberg Air
Force Base, California a two-staged
Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) was launched yesterday. For the first
time, this launch tested our nation's hedge against Iran's ballistic missiles and their
capability to strike our soil over the next decade until the future SM-3
Block 2B missile is developed and deployed in 2020 or beyond.
"The test at Vandenberg
Air Force Base validated the mature design of the two-stage GBI and
tested the divert capability and other important data elements on the
exoatmospheric kill vehicle placed on top of the missile.
"This specific hedge of
proceeding with the two-stage missile was a hard fought battle won by
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates against
critics opposing this missile, which was originally developed for
placement in Poland and has been
canceled by President Obama's administration. Secretary Gates need for
the two-stage GBI was primarily for a hedge in case the threat from Iran comes quicker than expected and future
defensive missiles on the drawing boards are not ready.
intercept shots are needed to mitigate high risk of vulnerability to the
eastern United States and northern Europe from Iran
as early as 2015 or sooner. The three-stage GBIs deployed in Alaska and California
cannot protect northern Europe and can
only provide a one-shot opportunity for the eastern United States. The remaining areas of the
country are protected by two or more shot opportunities. Missile Defense
Agency Director Lieutenant General Patrick J.
O'Reilly stated at a missile defense conference in London last month that no greater than a 90
percent success can be achieved with a one-shot opportunity and that
two-shot opportunities are needed to provide high confidence.
"The two-stage GBI is
exactly the same size, length and shape as the three-stage GBI but has
eliminated the third stage motor inside the missile providing a quicker
time to locate and destroy an incoming ballistic missile, rather than
waiting for the burnout time of the 3rd stage motor to achieve the same
results. Both the three-stage and two-stage GBI carry the same
exoatmospheric kill vehicle in their payload. Intercept testing of the
three-stage GBI can be applied directly to the two-stage GBI. Plans have
previously stated that a single successful intercept by the two-stage
GBI will certify it for deployment. The next test is scheduled for 2012
and will be the first intercept test for the two-stage GBI.
"Due to their lack of a
third stage, the two-stage GBI must be deployed forward with U.S.
forward-based radars deployed in the Middle
East to provide the Eastern United
States a second shot opportunity and a first shot opportunity in Northern Europe against an Iranian long or
intermediate range ballistic missile. "
Contact: Barbara Maxwell, 703-299-0060
SOURCE Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance