Exclusive: Pakistan expresses interest in non-nuclear EMP weapons technology

by Zaki Khalid
[Terminal X Report]

Well-informed sources say that Pakistani security officials have expressed interest in the research and development of non-nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapons.

Sources privy to the development had earlier shared that a panel of Chinese and Russian experts had met in Moscow to discuss means of collaborating for a giant Asian EMP-shield (‘umbrella‘) that would protect regional airspace, particularly that of Russia and China, from intruding systems.

In this context, Pakistani officials expressed their interest. It is expected that as previously, Pakistan will approach its counterparts in China to map a possible joint R & D venture.

Source: http://www.terminalx.org/

South Korea to buy 36 AH-64E Apaches

Boeing has won a contract to supply South Korea with AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, defeating the Bell AH-1Z Zulu and Turkish Aerospace T-129B for the 36 helicopter AHX requirement.

“Boeing is pleased with the announcement that the Republic of Korea has selected the AH-64E Apache as its new heavy-attack helicopter,” the US airframer said in an email to Flightglobal. “We look forward to working with the US Army and the Republic of Korea Army as they finalise the Foreign Military Sales contract for 36 AH-64E Apaches.”

According to US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notifications in September 2012, the Apache deal is worth $3.6 billion, considerably higher than the proposed AH-1Z contract, which was valued at $2.6 billion.

“The heavily-armed attack helicopters will replace aging helicopters deployed by the army to counter threats by the North Korean military’s armoured units and deter provocations,” Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration spokesman Baek Yoon-Hyeong was reported as saying.

Industry sources close to the competition had expected a decision in late 2012, but this was delayed by South Korea’s presidential election in December 2012.

This is Seoul’s second major acquisition in a month. On 10 April it selected the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) to upgrade its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters.

Once the US government gives the go-ahead, Raytheon will deliver 134 of the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems to South Korea. Deliveries are expected to start in late 2016, after the company completes development work.

Industry sources say that Seoul is likely to make a decision on the F-X III competition for 60 fighters in June. The three contenders for the deal, possibly the world’s biggest fighter buy this year, are the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and Eurofighter Typhoon. The type will replace Seoul’s obsolescent fleet of McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantoms.

Heightened tensions with North Korea this year have prompted Seoul to push forward key defence purchases, industry sources say.

Lockheed PAC-3 Missile Intercepts and Destroys Tactical Ballistic Missile in New Test

By on Monday, April 15th, 2013

pac3

Lockheed Martin’s PAC-3 Missile successfully detected, tracked and intercepted a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) in a Lower Tier Project Office flight test today at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

Two PAC-3 Missiles were ripple-fired in the test per current doctrine. The first interceptor destroyed the target and the second PAC-3 Missile self-destructed as planned. Mission objectives were focused on reducing risk for a flight test of the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) scheduled later this year.

“Today’s flight test provided us the opportunity to demonstrate the PAC-3 Missile against a challenging TBM target,” said Richard McDaniel, vice president of PAC-3 Missile programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our preliminary data indicate that all objectives were achieved.”

The PAC-3 and MSE Missiles are two of the world’s most advanced, capable and reliable theater air defense missiles. They defeat tactical ballistic and air breathing targets.

As the most technologically advanced missile for the PATRIOT air defense system, PAC-3 significantly increases the PATRIOT system’s firepower, allowing 16 PAC-3 Missiles to be loaded in place of just four legacy PATRIOT PAC-2 missiles on the launcher.

Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, including the first operational hit-to-kill missile.

It also has considerable experience in missile design and production, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as radar and signal processing.

The company makes significant contributions to all major U.S. missile defense systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is a 2012 recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence.

The Malcolm Baldrige Award represents the highest honor that can be awarded to American companies for their achievements in leadership, strategic planning, customer relations, measurement, analysis, workforce excellence, operations and results.

Sea-based X-band Radar

SBXBR

The Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1) is a floating, self-propelled, mobile radar station designed to operate in high winds and heavy seas. It is part of the U.S. Defense Department Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The radar is mounted on a fifth generation CS-50 twin-hulled semi-submersible drilling rig. Conversion of the vessel was carried out at the AmFELS yard in Brownsville, Texas; the radar mount was built and mounted on the vessel at the Kiewit yard in Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi. It is nominally based at Adak Island in Alaska (though, as of April 2012 has never put into port at Adak) but can roam over the Pacific Ocean to detect incoming ballistic missiles. The vessel is classed by ABS and has the IMO number of 8765412.

Specifications

  • Vessel length: 116 meters (380 ft)
  • Vessel height: 85 meters (280 ft) from keel to top of radar dome
  • Vessel draft: approximately 10 meters (32 ft. 9 in.) when in motion or otherwise not on station; approximately 30 meters (98 ft. 5 in.) when on station
  • Vessel stability: remains within 10 degrees of horizontal on station (fully passive stabilization)
  • Cost: $900 million
  • Crew: Approximately 75-85 members, mostly civilian contractors
  • Radar range: 2,000 km (1,242 mi.)
  • Displacement: 50,000 tons

Details

SBX-1 is part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system being deployed by the MDA. Being sea-based allows the vessel to be moved to areas where it is needed for enhanced missile defense. Fixed radars provide coverage for a very limited area due to the curvature of the Earth. The primary task SBX will carry out is discrimination (identification) of enemy warheads from decoys, followed by precision tracking of the identified warheads.

The vessel has many small radomes for various communications tasks and a central, large dome that encloses and protects a phased-array, 1,800 tonne (4,000,000 pound) X band radar antenna. The small radomes are rigid, but the central dome is not – the flexible cover is supported by positive air pressure amounting to a few inches of water. The amount of air pressure is variable depending on weather conditions.

The radar antenna itself is described as being 384 m2 (4,130 sq ft). It has a large number of solid-state transmit-receive modules mounted on an octagonal flat base which can move ±270 degrees in azimuth and 0 to 85 degrees elevation (although software currently limits the maximum physical elevation to 80 degrees). The maximum azimuth and elevation velocities are approximately 5-8 degrees per second. In addition to the physical motion of the base, the beam can be electronically steered off bore-sight (details classified).

There are currently 22,000 modules installed on the base. Each module has one transmit-receive feed horn and one auxiliary receive feed horn for a second polarization, so there are 44,000 feedhorns. The base is roughly 2/3 populated, with space for installation of additional modules. The current modules are concentrated towards the center, so as to minimize grating lobes. This configuration allows it to support the very-long-range target discrimination and tracking that GMD‘s midcourse segment requires. The array requires over a megawatt of power.

In addition to the power consumed by the radar, the thrusters which propel the vessel are electric and require substantial power. The maximum speed is approximately 8 knots (9.2 mph; 15 km/h). To support this and all other electrical equipment, the vessel currently has six 3.6-megawatt generators (12-cylinder Caterpillar diesels). The generators are in two compartments, one port and one starboard. The maximum power currently drawn is roughly 12 megawatts, and there are plans to expand the number of generators to eight, so that one entire compartment could be lost and the vessel would still continue to operate at full capability.

SBX entering Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for repairs on January 9, 2006

The active electronically scanned array radar is derived from the radar used in the Aegis combat system, and is a part of the layered ballistic missile defense (BMDS) program of the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA). One important difference from Aegis is the use of X band in the SBX. Aegis uses S band, and Patriot uses the higher-frequency C band. The X band frequency is higher still, so its shorter wavelength enables finer resolution of tracked objects. The radar is designed and built by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems for Boeing, the prime contractor on the project for MDA.

The radar has been described by Lt. Gen Trey Obering (director of MDA) as being able to track an object the size of a baseball over San Francisco in California from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, approximately 2,900 miles (4,700 km) away. The radar will guide land-based missiles from Alaska and California, as well as in-theatre assets.

The CS-50 semi-submersible rig on which the radar is mounted was built as the “Moss Sirius” at the Vyborg shipyard in Russia for Moss Maritime (now part of the Saipem offshore company). It was purchased for the Sea-based X-band Radar project by the Boeing company, outfitted with propulsion, power and living quarters at the AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, and integrated with the radar at the Kiewit yard in Ingleside, Texas.

SBX departing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on March 31, 2006

The first such vessel is scheduled to be based in Adak Island, Alaska, part of the Aleutian Islands. From that location it will be able to track missiles launched toward the US from both North Korea and China. Although her homeport is in Alaska, she will be tasked with moving throughout the Pacific Ocean to support her mission. The name given to the SBX vessel, “SBX-1,” indicates the possibility of further units of the class. In circumstances when a vessel is required to be continually on duty over a long period of time, common naval practice is to have at least three units of the type available to allow for replenishment, repair and overhaul. Three further vessels of the CS-50/Moss Sirius design were under construction or contract at the Severodvinsk shipyard in Russia as of early 2007, but were configured for oil production. On May 11, 2011, Col. Mark Arn, the SBX project manager for MDA, said that SBX is only one of its kind and there are no current plans for another one.[1] In July 2011, a Missile Defense Agency spokesman explained that other, smaller radars in the Pacific will “pick up the slack” while SBX is in port with its radar turned off.[2]

Operational history

The SBX deployed in 2006. The ship has spent time for maintenance and repair at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii several times, including 170 days in 2006, 63 days in 2007, 63 days in 2008, 177 days in 2009, and 51 days in 2010. When not at Hawaii, the SBX has been on operational deployments in the Pacific, including traveling to waters off Alaska. The ship has not moored at Alaska, in spite of the construction of a $26 million, eight-point mooring chain system installed in 2007 in Adak‘s Kuluk Bay. On June 23, 2009, the SBX was moved to offshore Hawaii in response to a potential North Korean missile launch. Between 2009 and 2010, the vessel spent 396 continuous days at sea.[3]

The SBX failed during a flight test on January 31, 2010, designated FTG-06. The test was a simulation of a North Korean or Iranian missile launch.[4] The test failure arose from two factors, the first being that algorithms in the SBX radar software which are designed to filter out extraneous information from the target scene were left disengaged for the test, and the second was a mechanical failure in a thruster on the kill vehicle.[5]

During flight test FTG-06a on December 15, 2010, the SBX performed as expected, but intercept of the target missile was again not achieved.

In May 2011, the SBX-1 entered Vigor Shipyard (formerly the Todd Pacific Shipyard) in Seattle for a $27 million upgrade and maintenance work by contractor Boeing.[6] The work was completed in about three months and in August 2011, SBX-1 departed Seattle for deployment.[7]

In February 2012, the Missile Defense Agency requested only $9.7 million per year for Fiscal Years 2013 through 2017, down from $176.8 million in fiscal 2012. This reduced amount would be used to maintain SBX in a “limited test support” role, “while also retaining the ability to recall it to an active, operational status if and when it is needed.”[8]

In April 2012 it was reported that SBX-1 had left Pearl Harbor and was assumed to be being deployed to monitor North Korea’s planned Unha-3 missile in the launch window of 12–16 April 2012.[9] The vessel returned to Pearl Harbor on 21 May 2012.[10] It redeployed to monitor the next North Korean launch attempt at the end of 2012.[11]

In April 2013 it was reported that SBX-1 was being deployed to monitor North Korea. [12]

U.S. Navy to deploy laser weapons in 2014

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The U.S. Navy said Monday it is preparing to roll out a sea-based laser weapon capable of disabling small enemy vessels and shooting down surveillance drones.

The laser system will be deployed in 2014, two years ahead of schedule.

Chief of Naval Research Admiral Matthew Klunder said the cost of one blast of “directed energy” could be less than $1.

“Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to fire a missile, and you can begin to see the merits of this capability,” he said in a US Navy statement.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Naval Sea Systems Command successfully tested high-energy lasers against a moving target ship and a remotely piloted drone.

“The solid-state laser is a big step forward to revolutionizing modern warfare with directed energy, just as gunpowder did in the era of knives and swords.”

This comes amid heightened tension between the United States and North Korea with Pyongyang threatening to fire nuclear missiles.

A top U.S. military commander said Tuesday he favored shooting down a North Korean missile only if it threatened the United States or Washington’s allies in the region.

When asked by lawmakers if he supported knocking out any missile fired by North Korea, Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of U.S. Pacific Command, said: “I would not recommend that.”

But the four-star admiral told the Senate Armed Services Committee he would “certainly recommend” intercepting an incoming North Korean missile “if it was in defense of our allies” or the United States.

Amid widespread speculation North Korea could be preparing a missile launch, Locklear also said he was confident the U.S. military would be able to detect quickly where any missile was headed.

“It doesn’t take long for us to determine where it’s going and where it’s going to land,” said Locklear, who oversees American forces in the Asia-Pacific region.
The laser which will be launched in 2014 runs on electricity, so the weapon “can be fired as long as there is power,” and is a lot safer than carrying explosives aboard ships.

The U.S. military has powerful radar in Japan at the moment to help track a possible missile launch as well as naval ships in the area equipped with anti-missile weaponry. Japan and South Korea also have their own missile defense systems.

Source: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2013/04/09/-U-S-Navy-to-deploy-laser-weapons-in-2014.html

Korea remains as divided as ever

The Korean Peninsula has been divided for almost 70 years. However, observers do not expect a reunification any time soon. Not only are the two states politically at odds, their economies are worlds apart.

When the new millennium began there were still high hopes for Korea. President Kim Dae Jung said a new era had begun after his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jung Il in Pyongyang in June 2000. Kim Dae Jung received the Nobel Peace Prize for his “Sunshine Policy” which was akin to Willy Brandt’s “Ostpolitik.”

He was the first president to offer Pyongyang economic support without strings attached. He made it clear that Seoul wasn’t interested in reincorporating the North. His goal was equal relations and peaceful coexistence. The idea was that trade and investment would propel North Korea’s transformation into a market economy. A middle-class would emerge and so would a multi-party democracy – as had happened in South Korea.

No transformation through rapprochement

North Korean farmers work at their rice fields AFP/AFP/Getty ImagesMany North Koreans survive on very little food a day, they sometimes eat only rice

The South could and wanted to help the North and the North could accept the help because after four decades, it had become clear whose system had triumphed, which economic system was superior. After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the enemy and rival North Korea became a state in need of help. But up to now, the expectations of the rich brother in the South have not been fulfilled.

The North accepted shipments of fertilizers, rice and crops. It got hard currency from the joint Mount Kumgang Tourist Region and the industrial complex Kaesong.

However, Kim Jong Il did not go to the South as promised. He equipped his country with nuclear arms and carrier rockets.

When South Korean President Lee Myung-bak came to power, he said there would only be further help on the condition of return trade-offs from Pyongyang. Relations have been icy ever since.

Nationalism in the North

South Korean marines patrol on Yeonpyeong island REUTERS/Yoon Tae-hyun/YonhapThe South Korean army is on alert

North Korea considers itself as the only party able to unify the Korean nation. It sees the South as nothing more than a lackey of the US. The founder of the state Kim Il Sung said from the start that the North was interested in a strong, unified Korea. He termed the Korean War a patriotic war of liberation and stage-managed himself as the patriarch of the Korean nation.

But “reunification” has remained merely a slogan in North Korea because the regime has linked it to certain conditions which could not be fulfilled. Pyongyang wants the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea. It wants a Communist Party to be allowed in the South and it wants the formation of a confederation with a joint government.

On the other had, it does not want there to be more contact between the two states. It has no interest in the North Korean population finding out that South Korea is the more attractive part of the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, isolation is actively promoted and any thaw comes with automatic limitations.

Differences with Germany

The situation on the Korean Peninsula now is much different than the situation was for Germany right before and during its reunification. In Germany’s case, there had always been contact between the East and the West. East Germans knew a lot about West Germany because of television and telephone conversations with relatives. They also had a relatively realistic image of the advantages and disadvantages of life under market conditions.

South Korean soldiers work on their K-9 self-propelled artillery vehicles AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)US and South Korean soldiers often engage in joint exercises

In North Korea, it is illegal to possess South Korean DVDs of films or television shows. It is also illegal to listen to South Korean radio stations. Moreover, if a South Korean has any contact with the North or with North Koreans without permission, he is likely to end up in jail. The fact that there had been no change through rapprochement prompted the South to drop the idea of reunification from its political agenda – it was clear the process would be very slow and would be difficult to achieve in both political and economic terms.

In terms of population, when the Berlin Wall fell, there were four West Germans for every East German. There are currently two South Koreans for every North Korean. The North is 17 times poorer than the South per capita and four times poorer than China. One reason the South continues to support the North’s economy is to mitigate the costs in the event of reunification.

No one expects to see the Koreas reunite as suddenly as the two Germanys did. Journalists in Seoul are told there are no plans for anything like that to happen.

 Source

US deploys sea-based radar amid North Korea tensions

By on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

radar

The United States has deployed a sophisticated radar off the coast of Japan capable of tracking North Korean missiles and has sent a second destroyer to the region, officials said Tuesday.

The Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX), which resembles an enormous balloon mounted on a large oil rig, is designed to track ballistic missiles and feed data to a separate command that can fire interceptors.

Pentagon spokesman George Little stressed the deployment of the SBX system had already been scheduled and was not related to the ongoing tensions surrounding North Korea.

“The SBX is undergoing scheduled sea trials. Decisions about further deployments have not been made at this point,” Little said.

“It’s incorrect to tie the SBX at this point to what’s happening on the Korean Peninsula right now.”

Earlier, US officials confirmed that the anti-missile destroyer USS John McCain has been deployed to the region. The Pentagon at first said that a similar type of destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, had been deployed.

Later on Tuesday Little said the USS Decatur anti-missile destroyer had also been sent to the Pacific region.

“It’s arrived at a predetermined location in the Western Pacific to perform a missile defense mission,” he said, stressing that reports saying US ships would be based off the North Korean coast were “incorrect.”

“Those assets also help protect our own interests, our own troops in the region and other allies, to include Japan,” he said.

“Our response, and the mix of assets we have supplied to our responses, is prudent, logical and measured.”

“Let me be very clear that the United States’ position is that we want peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

In recent days the United States has sent its most sophisticated weapons to the region in a display of gunboat diplomacy.

The United States previously took the unusual step of announcing test bombing by nuclear-capable state-of-the-art B-2 bombers.

It has also deployed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to South Korea as part of a US-South Korean military exercise — dubbed “Foal Eagle” — which is scheduled to last until April 30.

The Korean peninsula has been caught in a cycle of escalating tensions since the North’s February nuclear test, which followed a long-range rocket launch in December.

Subsequent UN sanctions and annual South Korea-US military exercises have been used by Pyongyang to justify a wave of increasingly dire threats against Seoul and Washington, including warnings of missile strikes and nuclear war.