Print 109 comment(s) - last by Tavoc.. on Oct 21 at 4:34 PM

A Northrop-Grummond built DSP satellite. These current satellites only detect ballistic missile launches, rather than shoot them down.
New $5M study is first allocated since work was halted 15 years ago.

Congress recently approved a $5 million grant to begin study of space-based missile defenses. This marks the first time money has been allocated to the program since work on space-based systems was canceled in the 1990s by President Clinton. Two years ago, Congress rejected a similar proposal.

According to Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the threat of missile proliferation has grown rapidly since the 1990s. A total of 120 nations now have ballistic missile technology, he said, and nations like North Korea and Iran are not only developing the technology, but selling it on the open market. Missile defense systems are growing as well; 27 nations now have some form of missile defense.

The most recent annual report from the Pentagon highlighted the growing threat of accidental or intentional launch of ballistic missiles, as well as the vulnerability of U.S. satellites to attack, as evidenced by China's 2007 missile test, which destroyed a satellite in orbit.

A defense official commenting on the proposal told the Washington Times that space-based ABM systems are necessary for global, rapid defense, "It's really the only way to defend the U.S. and its allies from anywhere on the planet". The official said such defenses were last considered during the late 1980s, as part of the Global Protection Against Limited Strike, or GPALS, a multi-prong system which used ground and sea-based interceptors, along with space-based platforms. The plan was cancelled by the Clinton Administration, which focused all work on short-range missiles only.

The U.S. announced last year that its ground-based Star Wars' missile defense system was operational and ready for use, though capable at present of covering only parts of the U.S. Plans to expand the system in Europe are under way.

Despite claims to the contrary, China is also apparently working on similar proposals, says China military affairs specialist Richard Fisher. The program, which China says it halted in the 1960s, has apparently been restarted with such systems as the SC-19 anti-satellite missile. According to Fisher, China is also trying to deploy space-warfare weapons, aircraft carrier groups, and a much larger MIRV'ed version of its nuclear ballistic missile arsenal.

Fisher, author of the new book, "China's Military Modernization: Building for Regional and Global Reach", says that by 2020, China "will be well on their way to assembling all the elements of global power that [the U.S.] has today".

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By Tavoc on 10/21/2008 4:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
You fruitcakes said the same thing about ground-based ballistic missile defenses. And yet they're working just fine now. Space based missile defenses are even easier in theory than land based ones.

Fruitcakes? I guess being reasonable about the most effective way to spend our military dollars makes you gay? By "Working just fine" do you mean that it has passed a couple of controlled tests after several decades of research and tens of billions of dollars? It is yet to be seen how effective it would be in combat against the wide array of countermeasures that are undoubtedly being designed for it. Even then its a slightly different argument since you can harden and defend your ABM sites, and once a workable design is completed, it could be scaled and deployed much more cheaply.

If that satellite can shoot down incoming ballistic missiles, its not exactly very easy. And any nuclear missile someone shoots at a satellite is one less they have to aim at NYC or LA.

Um, they wouldn't be shooting down Satellites with ICBMs. They would be shooting them down with non-nuclear tipped, smaller, faster, specialized missiles which would be much harder to shoot down. I'm surpised you don't know this, we even allowed a documentary to be filmed about the shootdown of our own aging military satellite. These shootdown missles are far less expensive than an ICBM with MIRVs and waaay cheaper than a ABM satellite.

Bad logic. Russia ALREADY has nuclear weapons sitting at airbases, submarines, and mobile medium/short range launch sites. Also there is nothing "safe" about having thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at you, hoping to hell the other side doesn't intentionally or accidentally launch a few at you.

Uh, yes of course they do, but to date that is a relatively small portion of their overall nuclear arsenal since it is not the most efficent and effective delivery method. It is the natural consequence of an ABM system that works that they are going to dramatically increase the number of non-ICBM nuclear weapons to compensate. I don't want any more small nuclear weapons under the guard of conscripted, poor, and disgruntled Russian or Chinese soliders than we already have.

Third I'm betting the US can afford to build more interceptors than Russia can build missiles. Now that oil prices are crashing, their economy (which was never anywhere near as big as ours to begin with) is in an even bigger crisis than we are.

Are you kidding me? You think it is a valuable use of our nations already strapped resources to get into an expensive and pointless arms race with Russia and China?

If you haven't noticed, the size of our economy will be smaller than China's within 10-20 years and thanks to exporting energy and weapons Russia will always have a steady supply of cash, no matter how messed up their economy is. We on the other hand have massive budget deficits, an astronomical national debt, and much better things to spend our money on.

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