Peek A Boo, We See You

This could come in handy. You know, if Obama actually lets us develop those “unproven missile defense systems“.

U.S. achieves the ‘Holy Grail’ of missile defense

A pair of low Earth-orbiting demonstration satellites built by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems for the first time on March 16 detected and tracked a ballistic missile launch through all phases of flight, a Northrop Grumman official said March 22.

So-called birth-to-death tracking of a ballistic missile launch had never been done before from space and is the most significant achievement to date for the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) spacecraft, said Doug Young, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of missile defense and warning programs.

“It’s the Holy Grail for missile defense,” Young said during a media briefing here.

See also:
U.S. Military Satellites Achieve ‘Holy Grail’ of Missile Defense
For the First Time, Satellites Track a Ballistic Missile Through All Phases of Flight
U.S.reports ballistic missile defense breakthrough
Satellites track complete missile flight
‘Holy Grail’ of Missile Defense Reached
Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS)
Raytheon Company: Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS)Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS)
Space Tracking and Surveillance System

With Iran and North Korea well on their way to developing the technology to deliver nuclear tipped missiles, having STSS in service makes for a great orbiting security blanket. Of course, it’s only useful in conjunction with a robust ballistic missile defense system, a system Obama seems loathe to fully fund. We have the capability within our grasp to protect ourselves and our allies against rogue missile attacks, if only we have the commitment to build and deploy the necessary BMD systems.

/domestic bliss and tranquility mean absolutely nothing without national security

Nimitz Class Sitting Ducks

Report: Chinese Develop Special “Kill Weapon” to Destroy U.S. Aircraft Carriers

With tensions already rising due to the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy seems to have yet another reason to be deeply concerned.

After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a “kill weapon” developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.

First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.

The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.

The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.

Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.

Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon, enabling it to hit moving targets.

While the ASBM has been a topic of discussion within national defense circles for quite some time, the fact that information is now coming from Chinese sources indicates that the weapon system is operational. The Chinese rarely mention weapons projects unless they are well beyond the test stages.

If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.

See also:
Chinese ‘Kill Weapon’ Gives U.S. Navy Cause for Concern
ChiComms Target US Carriers
Latest Chinese Missile To Target US Carriers
DongFeng 21 (CSS-5) Medium-Range Ballistic Missile
DongFeng 21C (CSS-5 Mod-3) Medium-Range Ballistic Missile
DF-21 / CSS-5
DF-21 / CSS-5
China Close to Anti-Ship BM
China develops anti-ship missile
Information Dissemination

This is not good. U.S. carrier groups have multiple layers of defense designed to defeat any over the horizon threat from naval vessels to aircraft to high speed cruise missiles. However, a guided warhead dropping from orbit, traveling at Mach 10, is an entirely different threat, one that, at least based on unclassified information, we’re currently unable to defend against.

/someone had better tell Obama that we can’t afford to cut back on the development and deployment of ballistic missile defense systems, we need them not only to protect American soil, but now our ships at sea as well

Third Time Not a Charm

Poor Captain Carroll . . .

Sunday: Defiant Navy Ship Still Stuck After 3rd Extraction Attempt

A third attempt to refloat USS Port Royal (CG 73) proved unsuccessful this morning, leaving the guided missile cruiser aground about a half-mile south of Honolulu Airport.

This morning’s attempt was made with the concerted effort of the salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52), M/V Dove and four Navy and three commercial tugboats.

The Port Royal’s hull is structurally sound and there has been no fuel leakage or spillage.

. . .

Larger tug boats and tow vessels provided more pulling power than was mustered the two previous mornings. Today’s effort again coincided with the high tide, which occurred about 3 a.m. The ship, however, remained aground after four hours of towing, which began at 1:30 a.m.

The Navy is assessing its options on how to proceed.

See also:
Whoops!
USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52)
USNS SALVOR (T-ARS 52)

It’s interesting to note that the M/V Dove is standing by. This is a support vessel for the Sea-Based X-band (SBX) Radar

Sea-Based X-band (SBX) Radar is the tracking and discrimination radar used for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. SBX will consist of a large X-Band half-populated radar mounted on a modified fifth-generation semi-submersible platform with Battle Management Command Control and Communications, which includes In-flight Interceptor Communication System Data Terminals and associated communications; power generation; facility floor space; and infrastructure, similar to a fixed radar installation.

The SBX provides detailed ballistic missile tracking information to the GMD system, as well as advanced target and countermeasures discrimination capability for the GMD interceptor missiles. The ability of the SBX to deploy to operating locations under its own power allows it to support actual GMD operations as well as realistic testing.

. . .

The support vessel operations include operation the Motor/Vessel (M/V) Dove. The functions of the M/V Dove include: SBX maritime and mission equipment crew transport and transfer, fueling of the SBX, provision re-supply, transport and transfer of all equipment and hardware to and from the SBX, anchor handling, and when necessary, towing of the SBX. Logistical shore facilities are also required to support the SBX mission. There are two shore sites associated with the operations and support of the SBX: the Primary Support Base (PSB) located in Adak, Alaska (the home port for the SBX), and the Operational Support Site (OSS) located in Anchorage, Alaska. The PSB provides the functions of fuel coordination, environmental response capabilities, and is the shipping/receiving point for personnel and supplies to/from the SBX-1.

The presence of the M/V Dove is probably related to the fact that, as reader Render pointed out on a previous thread, the USS Port Royal is an element of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense component of our Ballistic Missile Defense System.

See also:
Ballistic Missile Defense

/anyway, if they can’t refloat the Port Royal, maybe they can turn her into a land based component of the missile defense system or, if all else fails, a maritime museum

UPDATE:

Navy to unload water, anchors to free stuck ship

The Navy plans to remove 800 tons of water from a warship that ran aground off the coast of Honolulu before again trying to free the ship.

The Navy hopes the lighter load will help it pull the USS Port Royal to safety. Several attempts to free the $1 billion cruiser have failed since it got stuck on a rock and sand shoal Thursday.

Rear Adm. Joe Walsh, U.S. Pacific Fleet deputy commander, says the Navy will try again early Monday, at the next high tide.

The water the Navy plans to unload is seawater the Port Royal has taken on to replace the weight of burned fuel. It helps balance the ship. The Navy also plans to unload about 40 tons’ worth of anchors and anchor chains.

/if at first you don’t succeed . . .