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Missile Defense Briefing Report - No. 307

Edited by Richard Harrison and Nicholas Grothaus
December 7, 2012


GULF STATES FOCUS ON THAAD
Middle Eastern allies fearful of Iran's expanding ballistic missile reach have set their sights on the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system as a solution. So far, both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have requested their own THAAD units and accompanying radar arrays as part of a $6.6 billion deal now awaiting approval from Congress. THAAD, produced by Lockheed Martin, has been one of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s greatest testing successes, recently passing an multi-target interception test exercise in the Pacific. (Defense News, November 5, 2012)

WHAT'S NEXT FOR ISRAEL AFTER IRON DOME
Israel’s next generation missile defense system, David’s Sling, is on track for deployment in 2014. The system, a collaboration between Israel’s Rafael Defense Systems and U.S.-based Raytheon, will provide Israel with a medium range missile interception capability, as well as defense against cruise missile threats. The "Sling" will add an additional layer of protection for Israel, augmenting existing systems such as the Iron Dome and Arrow systems that currently protect against short and long range missile threats, respectively. (Times of Israel, November 12, 2012)

NEW BATTLEFIELD LASER IN THE WORKS

German firm MBDA has developed a new directed energy laser system capable of shooting down incoming missile, mortar, and artillery rounds. The "40kW" system, which began development in 2008, utilizes technology that merges four 10 kilowatt beams to generate a single 40 kilowatt laser - almost double what similar U.S. systems have accomplished. The system relies on a radar and optical tracking system to detect and follow threats. It has successfully been tested against a range of munitions, and currently is able to engage threats up to 2,000 meters away. The system is ideal for protecting bases and airfields from incoming fire, and could serve as a useful tool against IEDs. Within the next decade, the company hopes to increase the system's effective range to 3 kilometers and its power to 100 kilowatts. (Gizmodo, November 13, 2012)

PYONGYANG HELPS DAMASCUS TO ARM...
In October, a shipment of suspected missile parts was intercepted heading from North Korea to Syria. The ship, of North Korean origin but registered in China, was stopped and the cargo seized by South Korean authorities. The graphite cylinders contained on the vessel are commonly used in the production of ballistic missiles, and appear to be intended to bolster Syrian missile production. Chinese authorities are cooperating with South Korean officials in the investigation surrounding the shipment. (Reuters, November 14, 2012)

...WHILE CHINA AIDS NORTH KOREA'S MISSILE GAINS
The United Nations is looking into how North Korea managed to acquire large mobile launch platforms despite the international sanctions that have been levied against the Stalinist regime. The transporter vehicles have several uses, but can most notably be utilized as a mobile platform for launching ballistic missiles. Pyongyang formally unveiled the launchers at a military parade back in April. Illicit transfers from China, the DPRK's largest source of missile technology, are suspected; in late October, China admitted that one of its state-affiliated companies sold such platforms to Pyongyang for use in logging operations, under condition they not be used for any other purposes. (Global Security Newswire, November 15, 2012)