A New Approach to Ballistic Missile Defense for Countering Antiaccess/Area-Denial Threats from Precision-Guided Weapons

By Corbett, Mike | Air & Space Power Journal, March/April 2013 | Go to article overview

A New Approach to Ballistic Missile Defense for Countering Antiaccess/Area-Denial Threats from Precision-Guided Weapons


Corbett, Mike, Air & Space Power Journal


Advanced capabilities in a variety of foreign weapon systems have prompted many discussions about antiaccess and area denial (A2AD) over the last decade. Such capabilities, which allow an adversary to apply force at greater ranges or with greater accuracy, will affect many aspects of allied campaign planning. This article addresses one subset of A2AD: the new ballistic missile technologies that an enemy can use to hold even mobile forces at risk at ranges in excess of 1,000 kilometers (km). This involves more than just China's antishipping ballistic missile- and evidence exists that other countries are developing these technologies as well.1 If successful, they could have a significant effect on planned missile defense systems. In particular, a maneuvering threat will have a higher probability of hitting an undefended target, place more targets at risk, and have less susceptibility to interception.

This is not a revelation- the mechanics of ballistic flight are well known. Less well known is the fact that the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has chosen to focus nearly all resources for developing missile defense not on the A2AD threat but on the "early intercept" concept that supports the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). Since 2009 the MDA has committed most of its development efforts to improving the Navy's SM-3 interceptor and supporting sensors. The SM-3 is an established system with a long history of success against purely ballistic targets, but it was not designed for the challenges of a maneuvering threat. Furthermore, the MDA has dedicated nearly all of its recent development to the midcourse phase of flight, where the threat has the greatest freedom to introduce confusion, and has ignored the boost and terminal phases of flight, where the threat remains most identifiable and most vulnerable.2

The maneuvering threats presented in this article are based upon foreign research that appears in English in the open technical literature. The article examines the development of simple maneuver schemes to avoid both tracking and interception and of subsequent maneuvers to hit an intended target. Such maneuvers can prove effective against midcourse interceptors with limited agility, but they have negligible effect on an agüe interceptor designed for boost-phase intercepts. The analysis presented here shows that increased interceptor agility is more effective than increased speed if the threat maneuvers. It also demonstrates that the Air Force's proposed Airborne Weapons Layer (AWL) could effectively counter these maneuvering threats.3 Finally, the article discusses whether the military services or a singlefunction defense agency should make the key decisions that define future operational capabilities in this critical component of air superiority.

The Missile Defense Agency's Current Plans and the Maneuvering Threat

The SM-3 family of systems, cornerstone of the MDA's development plans, was designed to intercept medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in the midcourse phase of flight- assuming that decoys may be present but not maneuvers.4 At present, the MDA emphasizes improving the SM-3's sensor technology, discrimination algorithms, and divert-system reliability, as well as substantially boosting the interceptor's speed. This approach results in kinetic kill vehicles with low agility- low divert velocity and low lateral acceleration- and a primary concentration on increasing the effective range through higher speeds. It yields attractive, very wide area coverage from a single site but does not solve the underlying discrimination and kill-assessment issues. Moreover, if the threat maneuvers during midcourse as a countermeasure- with or without decoys- performance falls off sharply.

To fully appreciate the issues, one should understand what an adversary must do to attain this maneuvering capability and why maneuverability is so lucrative. A ballistic missile that contributes to A2AD operations must have precision guidance, to either a fixed or mobile target. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A New Approach to Ballistic Missile Defense for Countering Antiaccess/Area-Denial Threats from Precision-Guided Weapons
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.