Filed under: Military, National Security, News, Science/Technology | Tags: Airborne Laser Test, Defensive Missiles, Obama's Budget Cuts, U.S. Missile Defense Agency
Baker Spring, FM Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy at the Heritage Foundation notes:
Although the U.S. Department of Defense and its industry partners work constantly to advance and improve defense technology, it is a rare occurrence when one such program can be described as a breakthrough. Mark your calendars, because just such an occurrence took place on February 11, 2009, off the coast of California. That day the Missile Defense Agency announced that a modified Boeing 747 aircraft carrying a high energy laser had tested the laser against a boosting ballistic missile and successfully intercepted and destroy the target missile .
It is understandable that the America people may have believed that using a laser to shoot down a launching ballistic missile is the stuff of science fiction. Clearly that used to be case, but today it is just science and no longer fiction.
According to Reuters the laser system is being developed by the Boeing Company and the Missile Defense Agency. The MDA reported that its airborne laser successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile and “the entire engagement occurred within two minutes of the target missile launch.” Baker Spring earlier wrote:
On February 2, 2009, Iran successfully launched a satellite into orbit using a rocket with technology similar to that used in long-range ballistic missiles. On May 20, it test fired a 1,200-mile solid-fuel ballistic missile. North Korea attempted to launch a satellite on April 6 that, while failing to be placed in orbit, delivered its payload some 2,390 miles away in the Pacific Ocean. This was followed on May 25 by an explosive nuclear weapons test. Under these circumstances, with the ballistic missile threat to the U.S. and its allies clearly growing, common sense would dictate that the Obama Administration fully fund the missile defense program.
The Obama administration has unfortunately slated the Airborne Laser program for budget cuts. The administration has proposed to cap at 30 then number of fielded interceptors for countering long-range missiles, to terminate the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program for defeating counter-measures in midcourse stage of flight, and to terminate the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program for intercepting ballistic missiles in the boost-phase stage of flight.
There is a video of the historic first ballistic Missile test available at the website. The $862 billion stimulus bill promised to save or create 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010, and as of this January, employment had actually dropped by 3.4 million jobs. Nice to know that the money the administration has spent has accomplished so much.
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