The MDA is developing, testing and deploying a system designed to counter ballistic missile threats of all ranges -- short, medium, intermediate and long. The Ballistic Missile Defense, or BMD, system has many integrated elements and a layered architecture that offers several ways to destroy incoming missiles and warheads before they reach their targets.
The architecture includes:
-- Networked sensors and ground- and sea-based radars for detecting and tracking targets.
-- Ground- and sea-based interceptor missiles that can destroy a ballistic missile using the force of a direct collision, called "hit-to-kill" technology. A critical ground-based interceptor, or GBI, component called the exoatmospheric kill vehicle, or EKV, uses such technology. An explosive blast fragmentation warhead also can destroy a ballistic missile.
-- A command and control, battle management and communications network that gives operational commanders links between sensors and interceptor missiles.
During his testimony, Syring said the agency's total request for fiscal year 2015 is
GBIs are part of the missile defense system's ground-based midcourse defense, or GMD, element. This element uses integrated communications networks, fire-control systems, globally deployed sensors, and GBIs that can detect, track and destroy incoming ballistic missiles. A GBI component called the EKV is a sensor and propulsion package that uses kinetic energy from a direct hit to destroy the incoming target. The agency says it has proven the EKV technology in flight tests, including three tests using GBIs.
"My highest priority remains the successful intercept flight test of the CE-2 [variant] exoatmospheric kill vehicle," Syring told the senators.
"I look forward to conducting the intercept test ... later this month," he said, and told the senators that the agency also identified the root cause of an intercept test failure in
"We have accounted for this issue in the upcoming flight tests and we are working toward a correction for the entire fleet before the end of the year," Syring added.
Rather than continuing to make year-to-year reliability improvements to the GBIs, Syring advised the panel, in FY 15 the agency is submitting a request to begin a redesign and improvement of the GBI EKV.
"The new EKVs will be more producible, testable, reliable and cost effective," he added, "and eventually will replace the kill vehicle used in our current GBI inventory."
MDA will continue to improve the performance of Aegis ballistic missile defense, the naval component of the MDA missile defense system, and in the fiscal 2015 budget request MDA seeks to procure 30 standard missile-3, or SM-3, Block 1B guided missiles.
"We will request a 4-year, multiyear, procurement authority for the 1B starting in fiscal 2016," the director said.
Syring told the panel that last year MDA completed
Syring has called the Aegis program one of the most adaptable and critical to U.S. and allied defense, and the program seeks to have 43 such ships by fiscal 2019.
"We are requesting
The homeport transfer of four Aegis BMD ships to Rota,
Aegis Ashore is the land-based component of the Aegis BMD. It adapts present and future Aegis BMD capabilities to address the evolving ballistic missile security environment. Over the next decade, Aegis BMD and SM-3 upgrades are being phased into deployed Aegis BMD ships and land-based facilities, according to an MDA fact sheet.
Aegis Ashore is part of Phased Adaptive Approach, or PAA, phases II and III. In 2015, Aegis Ashore will be installed in
MDA also participates in
"I want to be very clear," Syring told the senators. "We remain on schedule to meet the presidential mandate for deployments of phase II and III of the European phased adaptive approach. I was just in
On Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, interceptors, the director said that in fiscal 2015 MDA will procure 31 interceptors for the THAAD system and fund more TPY2 radar spares and another THAAD battery for the
The THAAD element gives the BMD system a globally transportable, rapidly deployable capability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight. A THAAD battery consists of four main components -- a launcher; eight interceptors per launcher; an X-band radar called
Also in fiscal 2015, Syring said, MDA will begin developing a long-range discrimination radar with deployment planned in 2020.
"The new mid-course tracking radar will provide persistent coverage and improved discrimination capabilities against threats to the homeland from the Pacific theater," he added.
In response to a question about
On the topic of cybersecurity, Syring said in written testimony that MDA has worked diligently to enhance the cybersecurity of missile defense networks and improve the protection of ballistic missile defense information.
"MDA has developed new policies, partnered extensively with industry and other
MDA also has expanded a partnership with the
Most Popular Stories
- James Foley Beheading Video Is Real Thing: White House
- Faith Groups Divest From Fossil Fuels
- Apple Stock Bounces Back Big Time
- Notes From the July FOMC Meeting
- Honda's Safe Approach Pays Off in Sales
- GE Healthcare Bringing Jobs to Massachusetts
- Target Slashes Annual Profit Outlook
- Google Kid Accounts Plan Raises Worries
- Why BofA Won't Pay $17 Billion After All
- Obama Weighs Move on Legal Immigration