The next time about anti-missile weapons in the United States was remembered in the early 80s, when, after the coming to power of President Ronald Reagan, a new round of the Cold War began. On March 23, 1983, Reagan announced the start of work on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) project. This project for the defense of US territory against Soviet ballistic missiles, also known as "Star Wars", involved the use of anti-missile systems deployed on the ground and in space. But unlike the previous anti-missile programs based on interceptor missiles with nuclear warheads, this time the stake was made on the development of weapons with different damaging factors. It was supposed to create a single global multicomponent system capable of repelling an attack of several thousand warheads of Soviet ICBMs within a short time interval.
The ultimate goal of the Star Wars program was to conquer dominance in near space and create an effective anti-missile "shield" to reliably cover the entire continental United States by deploying several echelons of space strike weapons on the path of Soviet ICBMs capable of fighting ballistic missiles and their warheads on all stages of flight.
The main elements of the anti-missile system were planned to be placed in space. To destroy a large number of targets, it was envisaged to use active means of destruction based on new physical principles: lasers, electromagnetic kinetic guns, beam weapons, as well as small-sized kinetic interceptor satellites. The rejection of the massive use of interceptor missiles with nuclear charges was due to the need to maintain the operational state of radar and optical detection and tracking equipment. As you know, after nuclear explosions in space, an impenetrable zone for radar radiation is formed. And the optical sensors of the space component of the early warning system with a high degree of probability can be disabled by the flash of a nearby nuclear explosion.
Subsequently, many analysts came to the conclusion that the Star Wars program was a global bluff aimed at drawing the Soviet Union into a new ruinous arms race. Studies within the SDI have demonstrated that most of the proposed space weapons for various reasons could not be implemented in the near future or were easily neutralized by relatively inexpensive asymmetric methods. In addition, in the second half of the 1980s, the degree of tension in relations between the USSR and the United States dropped significantly, and the likelihood of a nuclear war decreased accordingly. All this led to the abandonment of the creation of an expensive global missile defense. After the collapse of the SDI program as a whole, work in a number of the most promising and easily implemented areas continued.
In 1991, President George W. Bush came up with a new concept for the creation of a national missile defense system ("Protection against limited strike"). Within the framework of this concept, it was supposed to create a system capable of repelling the strike of a limited number of missiles. Officially, this was due to the increased risks of proliferation of nuclear missile technologies after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In turn, US President Bill Clinton signed a bill on the development of a National Missile Defense (NMD) on July 23, 1999. The need to create an NMD in the United States was motivated by "the growing threat of rogue states developing long-range missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction." Apparently, it was then in the United States that a fundamental decision was made to withdraw from the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems.
On October 2, 1999, the first test of an NMD prototype was carried out in the United States, during which the Minuteman ICBM was intercepted over the Pacific Ocean. Three years later, in June 2002, the United States officially announced its withdrawal from the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems.
Working ahead of the curve, the Americans began modernizing existing early warning systems and building new ones. At the moment, in the interests of the NMD system, 11 different types of radars are officially involved.
Placement of US funds of early warning systems
The AN / FPS-132 has the greatest potential in terms of detection range and the number of tracked objects among stationary early warning radars. These over-the-horizon radars are part of the SSPARS (The Solid State Phased Array Radar System). The first radar of this system was the AN / FPS-115. Currently, almost all AN / FPS-115 stations have been replaced with modern ones. One radar of this type in 2000, despite the protests of the PRC, was sold to Taiwan. The radar is installed in a mountainous area in Hsinchu County.
Satellite image of Google earth: AN / FPS-115 radar in Taiwan
Experts believe that by selling the AN / FPS-115 radar to Taipei, the Americans "killed several birds with one stone" - they managed to profitably attach a station that was not new, but still workable. There is no doubt that Taiwan is broadcasting a "radar picture" in real time to the United States, while paying for the costs of maintaining and maintaining the radar. The advantage of the Taiwanese side in this case is the ability to observe missile launches and space objects over the territory of the PRC.
In the late 1980s, the Americans replaced the old early warning missile systems in Greenland, near the Thule airbase and in the UK at Faylingdales, with the SSPAR system. In the 2000s, these radars were upgraded to the AN / FPS-132 level. A unique feature of the radar station located in Filingdales is the ability to scan space in a circular manner, for which a third antenna mirror has been added.
Radar early warning system AN / FPS-132 in Greenland
On the territory of the United States, the AN / FPS-132 early warning radar is located at Beale airbase in California. It is also planned to upgrade the AN / FPS-123 radar to this level at Clear Air Base, Alaska and at Millstone Hill, Massachusetts. Not so long ago, it became known about the intention of the United States to build an SSPAR radar system in Qatar.
Satellite image of Google earth: AN / FPS-123 early warning radar on the East Coast in Massachusetts
In addition to the SSPAR early warning radar, the American military has a number of other types of stations scattered around the world. On the territory of Norway, which is a NATO member, two objects are located, involved in the observation of space objects and missile launches from the territory of Russia.
Radar Globus-II in Norway
In 1998, the AN / FPS-129 Have Stare radar, also known as "Globus-II", began operating near the Norwegian city of Vardø. The 200 kW radar has a 27 m antenna in a 35 m radome. According to US officials, its task is to collect information on "space debris" for the safety of space flights. However, the geographic location of this radar allows it to be used to track Russian missile launches at the Plesetsk test range.
The Globus-II location bridges the gap in geosynchronous radar tracking coverage between Millstone Hill, Massachusetts, and ALTAIR, Kwajalein. At the moment, work is underway to extend the resource of the AN / FPS-129 Have Stare radar in Vardø. It is assumed that this station will be in operation until at least 2030.
Another "research" American facility in Scandinavia is the EISCAT (European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association) radar complex. The main EISCAT radar (ESR) is located in Svalbard not far from the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen. Additional receiving stations are available in Sodankylä in Finland and Kiruna in Sweden. In 2008, the complex was modernized, along with mobile parabolic antennas, a fixed antenna with a phased array appeared.
Satellite image of Google earth: EISCAT radar
The EISCAT complex was also created to track "space debris" and observe objects in low Earth orbit. It is part of the European Space Agency's Outer Space Awareness (SSA) program. As a "dual-use" facility, a radar complex in northern Europe, simultaneously with civilian research, can be used for measurements during test launches of ICBMs and missile defense systems.
In the Pacific area, the American Missile Defense Agency has four radars capable of tracking ICBM warheads and issuing target designations to missile defense systems.
A powerful radar complex has been built on the Kwajalein Atoll, where the American anti-missile test site "Barking Sands" is located. The most modern radar of the various types of long-range stations available here is the GBR-P. She is involved in the NMD program. The GBR-P radar has a radiated power of 170 kW and an antenna area of 123 m².
Radar GBR-P under construction
The GBR-P radar was put into operation in 1998. According to data published in open sources, the confirmed detection range of ICBM warheads is at least 2,000 km. For 2016, it is planned to upgrade the GBR-P radar, it is planned to increase the radiated power, which, in turn, will lead to an increase in the detection range and resolution. At the moment, the GBR-P radar is involved in providing anti-missile defense to American military facilities in Hawaii. According to American officials, the deployment of interceptor missiles in this remote region is associated with the threat of nuclear missile strikes by the DPRK.
Back in 1969, in the western part of the Pacific Atoll of Kwajalein, a powerful ALTAIR radar complex was put into operation. The radar complex on Kvaljalein is part of a large-scale project ARPA (Advanced Research Agency - Long-range tracking and identification using radar). Over the past 46 years, the importance of this object for the control system for space objects and the US early warning system has only increased. In addition, without this radar complex at the Barking Sands test site, it would be impossible to conduct full testing of anti-missile systems.
ALTAIR is also unique in that it is the only radar in the Space Observing Network with an equatorial location, it can track one third of objects in the geostationary belt. The radar complex annually makes about 42,000 trajectory measurements in space. In addition to observing near-Earth space using radars from Kwajalein, research and monitoring of deep space is being conducted. The capabilities of ALTAIR allow you to track and measure the parameters of research spacecraft sent to other planets and comets and asteroids approaching the Earth. So after the launch to Jupiter, the Galileo spacecraft was monitored with the help of ALTAIR.
The peak power of the radar is 5 MW and the average radiated power is 250 kW. According to data published by the US Department of Defense, the accuracy of determining the coordinates in low-earth orbit of metal objects with an area of 1 m² is from 5 to 15 meters.
Radar complex ALTAIR
In 1982, the radar was seriously modernized, and in 1998, the complex included digital equipment for analysis and high-speed data exchange with other early warning systems. A protected fiber-optic cable was laid from the Kwajalein Atoll to transmit information to the command center of the Hawaiian Air Defense Zone on the island of Guam.
For the timely detection of attacking ballistic missiles and the issuance of target designation to missile defense systems, a mobile radar with AFAR - SBX was put into operation several years ago. This station is installed on a self-propelled floating platform and is designed to detect and track space objects, including high-speed and small-sized ones. The missile defense radar station on a self-propelled platform can be quickly relocated to any part of the world's oceans. This is a significant advantage of a mobile radar over stationary stations, the range of which is limited by the curvature of the earth's surface.
Floating radar SBX
On the platform, in addition to the main radar with AFAR, operating in the X-band with a radio-transparent dome with a diameter of 31 meters, there are several auxiliary antennas. The elements of the main antenna are installed on a flat octagonal plate, it can rotate 270 degrees horizontally and change the tilt angle within the range of 0 - 85 degrees. According to the data published in the media, the detection range of targets with an RCS of 1 m² is more than 4,000 km, the radiated power is 135 kW.
In the port of Adak in Alaska, a special berth with the appropriate infrastructure and life support systems has been erected for the SBX radar. It is assumed that the SBX, being in this place, will be on alert, controlling the western missile-hazardous direction and issue, if necessary, target designation to American anti-missile missiles deployed in Alaska.
In 2004, in Japan on the island of Honshu, a prototype J / FPS-5 radar was built for research in the field of missile defense. The station is capable of detecting ballistic missiles at a range of about 2000 km. Currently, there are five radars of this type operating on the Japanese islands.
The location of the radar J / FPS-3 and J / FPS-5 in Japan
Prior to the commissioning of the J / FPS-5 stations, radars with J / FPS-3 HEADLIGHTS in domed protective fairings were used to track missile launches in nearby areas. J / FPS-3 detection range - 400 km. Currently, they are reoriented to air defense missions, but in case of emergency, early model radars can be used to detect enemy warheads and issue target designations to missile defense systems.
Radar J / FPS-5
J / FPS-5 radars have a very unusual design. For the characteristic shape of the radio-transparent vertical dome, the 34-meter-high structure was nicknamed the "Turtle" in Japan. Three antennas with a diameter of 12-18 meters are placed under the "tortoise shell". It is reported that with the help of the J / FPS-5 radar located on the Japanese islands, it was possible to track the launches of ballistic missiles from Russian strategic submarines in polar latitudes.
According to the official Japanese version, the construction of missile warning system stations is associated with a missile threat from North Korea. However, the deployment of such a number of early warning radar stations by the threat from the DPRK cannot be explained. Although the J / FPS-5 missile defense radar is operated by the Japanese military, information from them is continuously transmitted via satellite channels to the US Missile Defense Agency. In 2010, Japan commissioned the Yokota missile defense command post, which is operated jointly by the two countries. All this, combined with plans to deploy American SM-3 interceptor missiles on Japanese destroyers such as Atago and Congo, indicates that the United States is trying to make Japan the forefront of its missile defense system.
The adoption and deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system required the creation of a mobile radar with AFAR AN / TPY-2. This fairly compact station operating in the X-band is designed to detect tactical and operational-tactical ballistic missiles, escort and target interceptor missiles at them. Like many other modern anti-missile radars, it was created by Raytheon. To date, 12 radar stations of this type have already been built. Some of them are located outside the United States, it is known about the deployment of AN / TPY-2 radars in Israel on Mount Keren in the Negev Desert, in Turkey at the Kuretzhik base, in Qatar at the El Udeid airbase and in Japan on Okinawa.
Radar AN / TPY-2
The AN / TPY-2 radar can be transported by air and sea transport, as well as in towed form on public roads. With a warhead detection range of 1000 km and a 10-60 ° scanning angle, this station has a good resolution, sufficient to distinguish a target against the background of the debris of previously destroyed missiles and separated stages. According to advertising information from Raytheon, the AN / TPY-2 radar can be used not only in conjunction with the THAAD complex, but also as part of other anti-missile systems.
One of the key elements of a ground-based missile defense system planned for deployment in Europe is the Aegis Ashore radar. This model is a land-based version of the AN / SPY-1 naval radar, coupled with the combat elements of the Aegis BMD system. The AN / SPY-1 HEADLIGHTS radar is capable of detecting and tracking small targets, as well as guiding interceptor missiles.
The main developer of the Aegis Ashore ground-based missile defense radar is the Lockheed Martin corporation. The design of the Aegis Ashore is based on the latest version of the Aegis marine system, but many support systems have been simplified to save money.
Radar Aegis Ashore on the island of Kauai
The first ground-based radar Aegis Ashore in April 2015 was put into trial operation in April 2015 on the island of Kauai near the Kwajalein Atoll. Its construction in this place is connected with the need to work out the ground component of the missile defense system and with the tests of the SM-3 antimissiles at the Barking Sands Pacific missile range.
Plans have been announced to build similar stations in the United States in Moorstown, New Jersey, as well as in Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Turkey. Work has advanced farthest at the Deveselu Air Force Base in southern Romania. The construction of the Aegis Ashore radar and launch sites for interceptor missiles has been completed here.
US missile defense facility Aegis Ashore in Deveselu in the final stages of construction
Aegis Ashore radar's four-storey ground-based superstructure is made of steel and weighs more than 900 tons. Most of the elements of the anti-missile facility are modular. All elements of the system were pre-assembled and tested in the USA, and only then transported and installed in Deveselu. In order to save money, the software, with the exception of communication functions, is almost completely identical to the ship version.
In December 2015, the ceremony of transferring the technical complex into operation to the US Missile Defense Agency took place. Currently, the radar station of the facility in Deveselu is operating in test mode, but is not on alert yet. It is expected that in the first half of 2016, the first part of the European segment of the missile defense system will be finally put into operation. Anti-missile operations are planned to be led from the operations center at the American Ramstein airbase in Germany. Means of fire destruction of the complex should serve as 24 anti-missile "Standard-3" mod. 1B.
Also, in the near future, it is planned to build a similar facility in Poland in the Redzikowo area. According to American plans, its commissioning should take place before the end of 2018. In contrast to the Romanian facility, the anti-missile complex in Redzikovo is planned to be equipped with new anti-missile systems "Standard-3" mod. 2A.
To record the fact of the launch of ballistic missiles from the territory of countries with missile technology, and to bring the missile defense system into combat readiness in a timely manner, the United States is implementing a program for monitoring the earth's surface based on new generation spacecraft. Work on the creation of the SBIRS (Space-Based Infrared System) began in the mid-90s. The program was to be completed in 2010. The first SBIRS-GEO satellite, GEO-1, began operations in 2011. As of 2015, only two geostationary satellites and two upper echelon satellites in elliptical orbits have been launched into orbit. By 2010, the cost of implementing the SBIRS program has already exceeded $ 11 billion.
At present, the spacecraft of the SBIRS system are operated in parallel with the satellites of the existing SPRN system - DSP (Defense Support Program). The DSP program started in the 1970s as an early warning system for ICBM launches.
Google earth satellite image: SBIRS satellite control center at Buckley AFB
The SBIRS constellation will include at least 20 permanently functioning spacecraft. With the help of infrared sensors of a new generation, they must not only ensure the fixation of the ICBM launch in less than 20 seconds after the launch, but also carry out preliminary trajectory measurements and identify warheads and false targets in the middle section of the trajectory. The satellite constellation will be operated from control centers at Buckley AFB and Schriever AFB in Colorado.
Thus, with the practically formed ground-based radar component of the missile attack warning system, the space component of the national missile defense under construction is still behind schedule. This is partly due to the fact that the appetites of the American military-industrial complex turned out to be greater than the capabilities of the huge defense budget. In addition, not everything is going smoothly with the possibilities of launching heavy spacecraft into orbit. After the closure of the Space Shuttle program, the American space agency NASA was forced to attract private aerospace companies on commercial launch vehicles to launch military satellites.
The commissioning of the main elements of the missile defense system should be completed by 2025. By that time, in addition to building an orbital group, it is planned to complete the deployment of interceptor missiles, but this will be discussed in the third part of the review.