Japan Shoots Down U.S. Test Missile: Pressure Mounts On Tokyo To Grant Okinawa-Guam Transfer
Training Exercise Displays Japan's Potential To Readily Particpate In U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System
Written by Jeff Marchesseault, Guam News Factor Staff Writer
Friday, 30 October 2009 11:09
GUAM - As the federal government prepares for the relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, a potential security gap is created, with the reduction of the U.S. military presense in Japan. The U.S. Department of Defense is addressing this gap by providing the Japanese Navy with training on an advanced ballistic missile defense system.
As the United States Pacific Command oversees the realignment of U.S. troops across Asia, and as American armed forces integrate systems and strategies with the militaries of cooperative nations throughout the region by deploying training missions and joint exercises, pressure mounts on Japan's new government to comply with an Okinawa-Guam troop realignment designed to protect the security interests of the Pacific.
And that couldn't be more abundantly clear now that the two nations' defense forces have just completed a dramatically successful training mission.
In a joint exercise with the U.S. from off the coast of Hawaii on October 28th, the Japanese Destroyer "Myoko" intercepted and destroyed a medium range ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean, above the earth's atmosphere in space.
This successful exercise is symbolically significant for two reasons. First, it is representative of the longstanding strength of the American-Japanese alliance. And, second, it's a timely bilateral victory as a row of questions looms on the horizon to the Guam military buildup. Will new Japan Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama finally agree to allow the relocation of a Marine Corps air base within Okinawa in time to reassign thousands of Marines to Guam and let a meticulously planned buildup proceed here? If so, will Japan honor a bilateral accord to move the base from Futenma to Camp Schwab inside Okinawa? Will the long-planned project have adequate notice from Tokyo to proceed according to deadline? If not, then where does Japan propose to place the base? And when?
All of these questions press harder and harder on Hatoyama now that the successful exercise is being reported in the international media. The incerception also comes after two of Hatoyama's cabinet officials recently contradicted him in public by agreeing that the air base must stay within Okinawa.
Michael Rudolph contributed to this analysis.
Here is an October 28, 2009 news release describing the successful launch, as posted at PRNewswire:
Lockheed Martin's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System Defeats Ballistic Missile Target in Japanese Test
KAUAI, Hawaii, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- JS Myoko, Japan's third destroyer equipped with Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, successfully intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile target above the atmosphere during a test event today. The test marked the 20th successful ballistic missile intercept by the system.
JS Myoko guided a Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block IA missile to intercept the separating medium range ballistic missile target outside the Earth's atmosphere.
Two U.S. Navy Aegis BMD ships, USS Lake Erie and USS Paul Hamilton, also participated in today's test. USS Paul Hamilton tracked the target and performed a simulated engagement. USS Lake Erie, equipped with the next generation Aegis BMD Weapon System -- designated BMD 4.0.1, which provides additional target discrimination capability -- tracked the missile target and post-intercept debris using its advanced signal processor. Full operational certification of BMD 4.0.1 is expected in 2011.
"This is the first Aegis BMD flight test conducted with two versions of the U.S. Navy Aegis BMD baselines and a Japanese destroyer," said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense line of business. "These events demonstrate the Aegis development success of build a little, test a little, learn a lot as well as the flexibility of the systems to evolve and keep pace with the threat to control the battlespace."
The Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the United States' Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The Navy's independent operational test agent has assessed the Aegis BMD and SM-3 Block IA system to be operationally effective and operationally suitable. Currently, a total of 22 Aegis BMD-equipped warships -- 19 in the U.S. Navyand three in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force -- have the certified capability to engage ballistic missiles and perform long-range surveillance and tracking missions. Two additional U.S. East Coast-based Aegis-equipped ships are being modified to perform ballistic missile defense in the next six months.
The Aegis Weapon System is the world's premier naval defense system and the sea-based element of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System. Its precision SPY-1 radar and integrated command and control system seamlessly guides the interceptor and uplinks target track information to the missile for terminal homing. Its ability to detect, track and engage targets ranging from sea-skimming cruise missiles to ballistic missiles in space is proven and unmatched. The Aegis BMD Weapon System also integrates with the BMDS, receiving track data from and providing track information to other BMDS elements.
The 92 Aegis-equipped ships currently in service around the globe have more than 950 years of at-sea operational experience and have launched more than 3,500 missiles in tests and real-world operations. In addition to the U.S. and Japan, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Australia, Norway, South Korea and Spain.
Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and the development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, including the first operational hit-to-kill missile defense system, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3). It also has considerable experience in interceptor systems; kill vehicles; battle management command, control and communications; precision pointing; and tracking optics, as well as radar and other sensors that enable signal processing and data fusion. The company makes significant contributions to nearly all major U.S. Missile Defense Systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.
Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.
For additional information on Lockheed Martin Corporation, visit: http://www.lockheedmartin.com
SOURCE Lockheed Martin