US 2019 Missile Defense Review Expanded to Include Hypersonic Missile Threats

The 2019 Missile Defense Review (MDR) has been expanded to offensive missile threats includes non-ballistic systems. The US will defend against advanced cruise missiles and hypersonic weapons.

There is a 24-page 2019 Missile Defense Review Summary.

There will be a comprehensive approach to prevent and defeat adversary missile attacks through a combination of deterrence; active and passive missile defense; and attack operations.

The US missile defense strategy will include:
– Comprehensive missile defense capabilities, including attack operations to defeat missile threats prior to launch, should deterrence fail and conflict ensue;
– Flexible and adaptable missile defense systems;
– Enhanced ballistic and cruise missile defense integration and interoperability;
– Leveraging the space domain for missile defense sensors; and
– Emphasizing capabilities that can be surged in a crisis or conflict.

In 2018, CSIS had a detailed review the procurement and deployment plans for missile defenses. At the time it appeared that new radar and missile facilities would get deployed by around 2023. It appears the new 2019 Missile Defense Review will result in some increased funding and additional deployment of new defenses.

20 More Ground-Based Interceptors, new GBI missile, and Some Future Space-Based Weapon(s)

Today, the United States is protected by the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system against the threat of an ICBM attack from rogue states such as North Korea and potentially Iran. The US is taking steps to improve the performance and effectiveness of the current GMD.

– Expanding the GMD system with 20 additional Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) in Alaska, bringing the total to 64;
– Developing a new kill vehicle for the GBI;
– Deploying new missile tracking and discrimination sensors in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific region; and
– Fielding a Space-based Kill Assessment capability.

Congress provided funding in FY17 and FY18 to procure additional Patriot, THAAD, and SM3 interceptors. These are for increasing regional missile defenses.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) will test the SM-3 Blk IIA against an ICBM-class target in 2020.

The Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV) is a next-generation kinetic kill vehicle for the GBI designed to improve the ability to engage ICBM warheads, decoys, and countermeasures using a single defensive interceptor. While the number of GBIs is limited, MOKV could improve the performance of the GMD system by increasing the probability of successfully intercepting the warhead.

In the future, additional missile defense capabilities, such as the [missiles mounted on the] F-35 and boost-phase defenses could also contribute to U.S. mobile capabilities to be surged as necessary in crisis or conflict.

The United States may decide to increase further the capacity of the GMD force beyond the currently planned force size of 64 GBIs. The missile base in Ft. Greely, Alaska, has the potential for up to an additional 40 interceptors. In addition, building a new GBI interceptor site in the continental United States would add interceptor capability against the potential expansion of missile threats to the homeland, including a future Iranian ICBM capability.

Anti-missile Lasers in the Future and Funded Low-Power Laser Demonstrator

Developing scalable, efficient, and compact high energy laser technology holds the potential to provide a future cost-effective capability to destroy boosting missiles in the early part of the trajectory. Doing so would leverage earlier technological advances, including for example advances in beam propagation and beam control. DoD is developing a Low-Power Laser Demonstrator to evaluate the technologies necessary for mounting a laser on an unmanned airborne platform to track and destroy missiles in their boost-phase.

Best Defense is a Good Offense

DoD will invest in the capabilities necessary for attack operations, such as improved attack warning intelligence, ISR, time-sensitive targeting, as well as the long-range precision and air-, land-, and sea-strike capabilities necessary for destroying mobile missiles prior to their launch.

SOURCES- 2019 Missile Defense Review, CSIS

Written By Brian Wang

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