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Missile Defense Review Eyes New Technologies

Source: Defense News

January 17 2019


The Missile Defense Review that President Donald Trump ordered in 2017 is set to be unveiled Thursday at the Pentagon, reports Defense News

The review highlights new technologies and emerging threats, including hypersonic missiles, said a senior administration official. 

A prominent element in the review is space-based defense, such as a sensor layer to improve early warning, tracking and analysis of missile launches. The Pentagon aims to demonstrate this in some form in the early 2020s. 

The review also calls for a six-month study on the deployment of interceptor missiles in space. 

To counter evolving potential threats, including from Iran, the review raises the possibility of a third Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, though no decision has been made, said the official. 

One possibility raised in the report is temporarily or permanently operationalizing the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Center in Kauai, Hawaii, which is currently only used for testing.

Another proposal calls for testing missile defense roles for the F-35 fighter jet and evaluating the SM-3 Block II A missile as a ballistic missile interceptor. 

The Pentagon also wants to review the possibility of equipping unmanned aerial vehicles with lasers to intercept missiles during their boost phase. While the technology behind such a weapon is not yet believed to exist, the department is working on low-power demonstrators to determine what technologies might be needed for the role. 

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