London and Ballistic Missile Defence

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by lanky, Aug 15, 2007.

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  1. Below are 2 parts of an article from (This is a well respected website). It is about the new Type 45 Destroyer's missiles and their capabilities, and it got me thinking. With a growing threat of Ballistic Missiles from Iran, Russia etc then isn’t it time to think of some sort of defence for London?

    But surely such a programme would cost lots of money? Detailed below is the working trials barge with radar and missile sikos fitted. Why not use this Sampson Trials barge called “Longbow” (see below) when the trials are over? I know that I am not a rocket scientist but what about berthing the barge alongside HMS President (a Royal Naval Reserve unit in London by Tower Bridge). President could provide support and admin and as it is meant to be protecting against Ballistic Missiles the presence of tall buildings shouldn’t be a problem as the radar will be looking upwards. Alternatively, take the radar off the barge and place it on top of a hill overlooking London and it could intercept hijacked airliners etc as well. It seems that PAAMS is derived form a land based missile system anyway.

    The article below says that Aster 30 is not suited for ABM, but if it can fly 100km then surely it can go straight up?

    As I said, I am not a rocket scientist, and am thinking way outside of the box. But this does seem a simple and relatively very cheap answer to a problem.

    What do you think?

    Anti-Ballistic Missile Capability
    The 1998 UK Strategic Defence Review policy on British Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) deployment was, as one commentator put it "Wait (a long time) and see". However this policy is coming under increasing criticism as the USA and most European allies start to develop or even deploy BMD systems, leaving the UK's current position looking increasingly isolated and risky, especially as regards the protection of deployed forces. In the absence of a land-based surface-to-air missile, and in view of its expeditionary strategy, adaptation of the Type 45 destroyer to BMD is becoming an obvious option. Although no decision has yet been officially taken, in May 2000 the Ministry of Defence said that the Type 45's were being built with the capacity to fire BMD interceptor missiles, a spokesman saying, "The Type 45 has been built with enough space to put in longer missiles. What would be needed for BMD is a booster motor. The UK and the French have been examining this and looking at the potential for Aster to be turned into a BMD missile."
    Artist's impression of an Aster 30 missile intercepting a Scub tactical ballistic missile.
    Unfortunately, with the exception of the Sampson multi-function radar, the various PAAMS components don't currently have a very great potential for the BMD task compared with systems such as the American AEGIS/Standard missile combination. However it's believed that it will be possible to give PAAMS a theatre anti-ballistic missile (ATBM) capacity in the future. Work started in May 2000 on a very limited "block 1" ATBM capability by Eurosam for France and Italy utilising the land-based equivalent of PAAMS - the "Land SAAM AD" system (formerly called "SAMP/T"). This capability should become available in 2004-5 and will be able to deal with unsophisticated threats such as Scud tactical ballistic missiles which have a range up to 600km and follow a simple ballistic trajectory.
    It's hoped to follow this with a "Block 2" version capable of dealing with much more sophisticated and longer-range (1,000+ km) ballistic missiles, this will use a new "Aster 45" missile with an enlarged booster stage and if the go-ahead is given in 2002 it could enter service around 2010-2012. As of June 2005, Aster 45 has no firm timeline.
    [Click on image for larger picture]Illustration from the Sunday Times of 6/5/2001 showing how a Type 45 could operate in a BMD role.
    At the moment Aster Block 1 and 2 are land-only systems, but relevant parts of the "Block 2" system could be adopted by the UK (and the other partners) in to a proposed navalised Block 3 to give PAAMS on the Type 45 destroyers an ATBM capability (sometimes designated ABM-PAAMS or PABMS). This capability would approach that of the USN's Navy Area Defense (NAD) system which will enter service on AEGIS equipped cruisers and destroyers armed with the Standard SM2 Block IVA missile from 2003. NAD is a so called "Lower Tier" solution and will be able intercept ballistic targets in their final descent phase, within the lower half of the appreciable atmosphere, and provide protection to vital areas ashore such as ports, airfields and cities within range of the defending ship - up to about 100 nautical miles.
    The USN was also developing an "Upper Tier" Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) capability to be based on the new Standard SM-3 missile. This Navy Theater-Wide (NTW) system was to be capable of ascent- and mid-course phase intercepts of ballistic targets outside the atmosphere, and in so doing provide much wider protection (hence 'theatre-wide') than is being considered for PAAMS. NTW was to be deployed from 2007 but technical problems and cost escalation lead to cancellation in early 2002.

    PAAMS Trails
    It was announced in September 2001 that British Marine Technology (BMT) had been awarded a £12m contract by UKAMS (a wholly owned subsidiary of Matra-Bae) to supply and operate a Sea Trials Platform (STP) in order to support the development and on-range testing of the UK variant of the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) for the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers. BMT were to repair, convert and commission the specialist Ministry of Defence missile trials barge LONGBOW, formerly the salvage barge 'Dynamic Servant', which was purchased by MoD in 1984 for service as the test platform for the Sea Wolf VLS missile system. On completion of those trials, in 1989 Longbow was laid up in Brixham harbour. The trials barge is 108 metres long and displaces 12,000 tonnes (8,145 tonnes gross), and has a crew of about 12 plus the trails team..
    BMT Marine Procurement Ltd subcontracted the repair and conversion work to naval ship repair group Fleet Support Limited (FSL). Longbow was towed to Portsmouth in September 2003 to undergo what was then expected to be 8 month refit, FSL overhauling all the existing machinery and equipment, and upgrading the accommodation and life-saving aspects of the vessel to current Lloyd's Register Classification Standards.
    Work started in earnest in April 2004 and in May 2005 FSL in Portsmouth was completing refurbishment (which proved to be far more extensive than expected) and conversion work on the Longbow. As part of the conversion, a 25-metre tall replica Type 45 foremast was added. Work then slowed considerably for a year but in September 2006 the second pre-production Sampson multifunction radar was installed on Longbow (mounted 35m above the waterline) following completion of its trials and qualification activities at BAE Systems. This will be followed by a missile silo - including Sylver vertical launch cells and all the associated equipment.
    Longbow at Portsmouth in July 2005, the mast is in place but the Sampson radar still not installed.
    On completion of the integration of the missile and radar systems setting to work will follow before actual missile firing trials can begin. These were originally scheduled to take place off Aberporth, commencing in mid-2005, but in 2003 the plan was changed to using a French test range near Toulon in the South of France. Its now hoped that in early 2007 Longbow will be towed to Mediterranean and moored to a large buoy on the edge of the Banc du Magaud in waters up to 200m deep. With a turntable on the top, the buoy will permit Longbow to rotate around it, thus missile testing need not be delayed by the tide and weather. Live-firing trials of the Aster 15 and the Aster 30 anti-air missiles will commence in mid-2007 and these will continue in to 2008. Upon completion of the PAAMS trials, BMT will decommission Longbow and the PAAMS equipment will be returned to MoD, some of which will then be fitted to HMS Daring or her sisters.
  2. Possibly - but it will lose out on the cost/benefit/votes analysis - the Government doesn't give a sh1t about defence even though it is the first duty of Government. Also we would have to define the threat and when you compare the massive arsenal of the Soviet Union of the late 80's with the potential (in a few years - perhaps) of a missile rocking up here and the lack of a defence against the attack then when it was taken vaguely seriously I think the chances of this happening are about as likely as singlies getting Grade 1 accommodation before 2013.
  3. jrwlynch

    jrwlynch LE Book Reviewer


    I am a rocket scientist. In the name of OPSEC will you accept "it won't work like that" as an answer? There are good reasons, but the details are not really fit for open forum debate.

    ASTER should be the dog's dangly bits when it comes to its job of killing aircraft and antiship missiles, but that doesn't translate to being a good SCUD-killer. (Sort of like Patriot, and indeed SM-2: being able to shoot in the general direction of incoming ballistic missiles, doesn't translate to stopping them going 'bang' in the general area of the target, lots of non-obvious problems)

    Patriot got credit for being able to at least try, though it was actually ineffective in 1991 and not tested (against Scudalikes, anyway) in 2003.

    The other problem is that if someone wants to deliver a nuclear warhead, or a ton of anthrax or VX, to the UK they won't use a ballistic missile (which is expensive, complicated, difficult and provides a clear return address) but a standard ISO cargo container, aboard a Liberian-flagged tramp freighter owned by a Shanghai company managed out of the Cayman Islands... and so it goes.
  4. Hmmm. Although this bodes to be an interesting thread, perhaps it should be locked in the interestes of OpSec and NatSec, just in case somebody forgets themselves.
  5. And the rest of the site whilst we're at it? C'mon, it's a thread about missile defences for London. There are far more potentially damaging threads on here, but anyone likely to know anything worth knowing is also likely to know not to talk about it.

    Did that make sense? It's too late for proof reading...
  6. Aye, I got the jist of what ye said. Makes a lot of sense really. Ie just been infected by a bout of 'loose lips sink ships'itis, and that was just a vent really.
  8. jrwlynch wrote:

    Spot on imo. The most likely wmd attack on London will be carried in on a container ship and driven to London on the back of a lorry. Deniable by the country who did it.
  9. I don't think powerful radar could be operated in the middle of a city. Might tend to microwave passing tourists on Tower Bridge. Also the wardroom in President wouldn't be too happy if they all got sterilised during a mess dinner.

    Radar pickets around the coast might be a possibility in a crisis. I think the Japanese are looking in to this to counter the threat from North Korea.

    Aren't we supposed to be getting covered by the American's 'son of star wars' thingy?
  10. Thanks! As I said it was just an idea. Nice as the Type 45s are I still believe that we should have just built some US Arleigh Burkes instead, largely because their silos enable a very varied weapon load, and the Standard missiles (I believe) can be capable of countering the Ballistic Missile threat. Their ships are about the same size as the Type 45 but can carry about twice as many misiles...
  12. However, How likely is it that a Type 45 will be sat in the London docklands area during the Olympics in 2012 as a temporary measure ?
  13. I suspect the authors of the Defence Industrial Strategy might have had something to say about that....
  14. do we actually face a real threat from ballistic missiles?
    trident and a robust attiude like the french showed to iran nuke anything remotely french and we will turn iran into a glass skating rink
  15. brightonhippy wrote:

    As long as we've got stuff to fire back then I don't think so. Only way around MAD is deniabilty, or not caring i.e we're all going to heaven anyway so we don't care if you shoot back.