Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense - Background and Issues for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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As part of its effort to develop a global ballistic missile defense BMD system, the Department of Defense DOD has modified three Navy cruisers and 15 Navy destroyers for BMD operations, and has deployed a large BMD radar the Sea- Based X-Band Radar SBX on a modified floating oil platform. In August 2008 it was reported that the Navy has decided to increase the number of BMD-capable destroyers from 15 to at least 62. The eventual role of sea-based systems in the worldwide U.S. BMD architecture has not been determined. The overall issue for Congress discussed in this report is What should be the role of sea-based systems in U.S. ballistic missile defense, and are DODs programs for sea-based BMD capabilities appropriately structured and funded The Aegis BMD system in its current configuration is intended to track ballistic missiles of all ranges, including intercontinental ballistic missiles ICBMs, and to intercept shorter-ranged ballistic missiles. The current configuration is not intended to intercept ICBMs. Future versions of the Aegis BMD system are to include a faster interceptor designed to intercept certain ICBMs. The Aegis BMD system has achieved 13 successful exo-atmospheric intercepts in 15 attempts. The system was also temporarily modified and used on February 20, 2008, to shoot down an inoperative U.S. surveillance satellite. Japan is acquiring the Aegis BMD system, and some other allied navies have expressed an interest in adding BMD capabilities to their ships. For FY2009, the Missile Defense Agency MDA requested 1,157.8 million in research and development funds for the Aegis BMD program. The program also receives some additional Navy funds. The FY2009 defense appropriations act Division C of H.R. 2638P.L. 110-329 of September 30, 2008 increased MDA s funding request by 56 million and transferred some funding for certain sea-based missile defense programs to new line items.
- Guided Missiles