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美军下一代反导需求:THAAD-ER?  

2016-08-17 20:33:23|  分类: BMDS |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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August 16, 2016 5:00 am

Foreign states are developing high-speed, maneuvering missiles, and the Pentagon and U.S. Pacific Command want weapons to counter them, a leading defense contractor involved in missile defense said Monday.

Doug Graham, vice president of missile systems and advanced programs for Lockheed Martin, a major defense contractor, told reporters in a briefing that missiles pose “an accelerating threat, both in numbers and complexity.”

“We’re also seeing advanced threats … hypersonic, maneuvering threats, that are being characterized as directly challenging the capabilities” of the current U.S. ballistic missile defense system, Graham said in a teleconference from Huntsville, Ala.

Current U.S. missile defenses include ship-based Aegis anti-missile systems, ground-based Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, Patriot PAC-3s, and Ground Based Midcourse Defense interceptors deployed in Alaska and California that can counter any North Korean long-range missile attack.

Growing missile threats are driving the need for a greater quantity of missile defense arrays, as well as more capable systems equipped with better sensors, increased ability to detect decoy warheads, and ultimately the ability to target missiles shortly after launch when they are more vulnerable to attack–so-called “boost phase” intercept systems.

China and Russia are both developing hypersonic missiles that travel at speeds up to 7,500 miles per hour along the edge of space and have the ability to maneuver, complicating the task of intercepting them.

The Pentagon is also working on hypersonic missiles, but is investing far less than either China or Russia.

Russia conducted a flight test of its experimental Yu-71 hypersonic glider in April that was launched atop an SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missile. That test was followed three days later by China’s seventh flight test of what is called the DF-ZF hypersonic glider on a missile that flew from central China to the western part of the country. The missiles travel at speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10, or between 3,800 miles per hour and 7,672 miles per hour.

One system being looked at by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency to counter maneuvering high-speed missiles is an enhanced version of Lockheed’s THAAD, called THAAD-ER.

The current THAAD-ER system uses a two-stage interceptor with higher velocity that would be capable of catching up to and destroying hypersonic missiles.

Laser weapons also are being considered for use against hypersonic missiles. Lockheed is working on lasers that can hit hypersonic missiles shortly after launch and before they reach ultra-high speeds, Graham said.

“We’re seeing significant interest [in THAAD-ER] from users in PACOM and other places,” he said, noting that Congress also is prodding the Pentagon to develop missile defenses against advanced threats.

“THAAD-ER is certainly one candidate and one of the more near-term options that the U.S. government has [in order] to begin addressing some of the advanced threats that are emerging,” Graham said.

The current defense authorization bill contains a provision that would require the Missile Defense Agency to set up a specific program for developing weapons to defeat hypersonic missiles.

The advanced missile threat is also driving demand in the Pentagon for laser guns, and Lockheed is working to develop a high powered laser deployed on a high-altitude, long-endurance drone aircraft. The laser would target missiles in the boost phase–shortly after launch.

“If you can do that, you can kill them long before they can do things during their trajectories to evade defenses,” Graham said. Using lasers against high-speed missiles poses challenging technical problems, he added.

However, Lockheed’s missile defense specialists believe the most effective solution to killing missiles in the boost phase is by using high-energy lasers.

Contracts for work on anti-missile lasers are expected to be announced by the Missile Defense Agency in coming months.

An earlier Pentagon program to build an airborne anti-missile laser inside a Boeing 747 jet was canceled several years ago.

Lockheed is currently conducting research into weaponizing fiber lasers–lasers that fire beams of light using an optical fiber treated with rare-earth elements.

Graham said the advanced missile threats pose “very complex and challenging” problems for missile defenses, and the Pentagon is pursuing a variety of ways to counter them.

A Missile Defense Agency spokesman had no immediate comment on efforts to counter hypersonic missiles.

Graham said the high-speed missiles typically operate in the zone covered by THAAD anti-missile interceptors–between the upper atmosphere and near-earth space.

For lasers, development could take five to 10 years before a laser weapon capable of hitting missiles in the boost phase is ready. “High energy lasers are the fastest, most agile intercept capability that we have,” he said.

In February, Vice Adm. James Syring, the Missile Defense Agency director, said THAAD-ER development was not being sped up, but is being continued. If the advanced THAAD system is approved it would be a 10-year development program, he said.

Syring said the agency is systematically looking at how to counter hypersonic threats.

“And I throw THAAD-ER into that mix, or any other capability that we’re looking out against the hypersonic glide vehicle threat that we see materializing in the future, and I’m comfortable that we’ve got the key decision points laid out over the next several years on laser capability, and I’ll just leave it at that, interceptor upgrade capability, and more sensor capability as well,” the three-star admiral said.

Lockheed is involved in building the ship-based Aegis anti-missile systems that are being adapted to ground-based interceptors in Europe.

The company is also working on redesigning a multiple kill vehicle for the ground-based missile defenses currently deployed for use against long-range missiles from North Korea, which in recent months has conducted nine missile tests.

The current THAAD system is slated for deployment in South Korea, despite objections from China that the missile defense system could be used to counter China’s ballistic missiles.

Lockheed also is building enhanced Patriot PAC-3 missile defenses and a 5-pound, mini-hit-to-kill interceptor for use against artillery, rockets, and mortars.


部分现成翻译:

美《华盛顿自由灯塔》网站8月16日报道,美洛克希德·马丁公司副总裁在记者会上表示,美军已经向产业界提出要求,研制针对具备高超声速滑翔和末段机动能力导弹的新一代反导系统。据称,洛马公司提出可以用增程型“萨德”或者激光反导系统来应付中俄的高超声速滑翔导弹。

从洛马副总裁的吹风来看,原定2018年开始投资研制的THAAD-ER导弹可能提前开始研制

报道称,洛克希德马丁公司副总裁道格·格拉汉姆周一在阿拉斯加州亨特斯维尔通过电视电话会议召开记者会,简报该公司和五角大楼在反导方面的一些新消息。“我们正面临先进导弹威胁……高超声速、机动导弹威胁,这些都已经对我们的反导能力构成了直接挑战”,他说。他表示,潜在对手的导弹系统对美国现有导弹防御系统构成了“日益严重的威胁,不论是数量还是技术先进性。”

格拉汉姆向记者们谈及了中国的DF-ZF和俄罗斯YU-71高超声速滑翔器的威胁。并表示目前洛马公司的THAAD-ER(增程型萨德)导弹或者激光系统被认为有可能用来对付这些威胁。

“我们发现很多用户,尤其是太平洋司令部,对THAAD-ER导弹有显著的兴趣。”他说,并表示国会已经要求五角大楼寻找应对先进导弹威胁的可能。

具备强大突防能力的东风系列导弹已经成为美军新一代反导系统的主要假想敌,反导-导弹对抗将进入一个新阶段

“THAAD-ER导弹目前是候选人之一,如果美国政府开始寻找解决先进导弹威胁的出路,这将是最好的近期解决方案。”格拉汉姆说。
同时它还表示,洛马正研制新的机载反导系统,这将是一种安装在高空长航时无人机上的激光武器,它能够在敌方导弹发射后的上升段就将其摧毁。

“如果能做到这一点,你就能在它们放出假目标或机动躲避前将它们击落。”格拉汉姆说,他说使用激光打击高速导弹仍有很多技术挑战。洛马目前正在研究武器化的光学纤维激光器,通过使用用稀土元素处理的光学纤维来发射高能激光束。

THAAD-ER导弹的射程可以增加3倍,拦截区域增加9-12倍,且具备对抗高超声速导弹的可能

格拉汉姆说,先进导弹威胁是“非常复杂和具有挑战性”的问题,五角大楼正研究多种手段来对抗。

例如,高超声速导弹通常在THAAD反导系统的拦截范围内飞行,也就是上层大气或近地轨道空间。

而激光武器的发展可能还要5-10年,到那时激光武器才有可能真正具有在上升段击落导弹的能力。“高能激光是我们所可能拥有的最快、最灵活的拦截手段。”他说。

除了增程萨德和激光武器,洛克希德·马丁还在进行另一项重要研究项目,即为现役的GBI拦截导弹研制多弹头拦截系统,这种系统据说是打算用来对付北朝鲜的导弹的。

目前THAAD导弹正准备部署到韩国,尽管中国对此提出抗议,认为这种系统可能用来拦截他们的导弹。

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