Pentagon Building Cruise Missile Shield To Defend US Cities From Russia

At least someone in America now realizes it’s not a game anymore, albeit a handful.

The new cruise missiles are why Russian bombers, who have come as close as 50 miles off the coast of California, don’t even need to go over American land to reach their top priority targets. One fly-by 50 miles away with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles mounted on planes would ensure Los Angeles or San Diego are erased within two minutes.

One might argue that the planes will be shot down before they could get within range. But guess what? They’ve already been in range with transponders off or none at all and the most that’s been done is politely escorting them back while sneaking in a few photos showing what a Russian bomber looks like for Facebook. Once they’ve been let in range, that’s it… it’s too late. If you think the U.S. Navy might catch them before they get in range, you might want to be reminded about how the Russians switched one of our AEGIS ships off, the USS Donald Cook, like a television.

America today is not untouchable, losing its supremacy day by day, and sadly most Americans only follow the Kardashians or their favorite NBA team.

 

The Pentagon is quietly working to set up an elaborate network of defenses to protect American cities from a barrage of Russian cruise missiles.

The plan calls for buying radars that would enable National Guard F-16 fighter jets to spot and shoot down fast and low-flying missiles. Top generals want to network those radars with sensor-laden aerostat balloons hovering over U.S. cities and with coastal warships equipped with sensors and interceptor missiles of their own.

One of those generals is Adm. William Gortney, who leads U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, and North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. Earlier this year, Gortney submitted an “urgent need” request to put those new radars on the F-16s that patrol the airspace around Washington. Such a request allows a project to circumvent the normal procurement process.

While no one will talk openly about the Pentagon’s overall cruise missile defense plans, much of which remains classified, senior military officials have provided clues in speeches, congressional hearings and other public forums over the past year. The statements reveal the Pentagon’s concern about advanced cruise missiles being developed by Russia.

“We’re devoting a good deal of attention to ensuring we’re properly configured against such an attack in the homeland, and we need to continue to do so,” Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a May 19 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington.

In recent years, the Pentagon has invested heavily, with mixed results, in ballistic missile defense: preparations to shoot down long-range rockets that touch the edge of space and then fall toward targets on Earth. Experts say North Korea and Iran are the countries most likely to strike the U.S. or its allies with such missiles, although neither arsenal has missiles of sufficient range so far.

But the effort to defend the U.S. mainland against smaller, shorter-range cruise missiles has gone largely unnoticed.

Intercepting cruise missiles is far different from shooting down a missile of the ballistic variety. Launched by ships, submarines, or even trailer-mounted launchers, cruise missiles are powered throughout their entire flight. This allows them to fly close to the ground and maneuver throughout flight, making them difficult for radar to spot.

“A handful of senior military officials, including several current or past NORTHCOM commanders, have been among those quietly dinging the bell about cruise missile threats, and it’s beginning to be heard,” Karako said.

While many of the combatant commanders — the 4-star generals and admirals who command forces in various geographic regions of the world — believe cruise missiles pose a threat to the United States, they have had trouble convincing their counterparts in the military services who decide what arms to buy.

Last August, at a missile defense conference in Huntsville, Ala., then-NORTHCOM and NORAD commander Gen. Charles Jacoby criticized the Army and other services for failing to fund cruise missile defense projects. NORTHCOM, based in Colorado, is responsible for defending the United States from such attacks.

“I’m trying to get a service to grab hold of it … but so far we’re not having a lot of success with that,” Jacoby said when asked by an attendee about the Pentagon’s cruise missile defense plans. “I’m glad you brought that up and gave me a chance to rail against my service for not doing the cruise missile work that I need them to do.”

The Threat

Driving the concern at the Pentagon is Russia’s development of the Kh-101, an air-launched cruise missile with a reported range of more than 1,200 miles.

“The only nation that has an effective cruise missile capability is Russia,” Gortney said at a March 19 House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing.

Russian cruise missiles can also be fired from ships and submarines. Moscow has also developed containers that could potentially conceal a cruise missile on a cargo ship, meaning it wouldn’t take a large nation’s trained military to strike American shores.

Shooting down the missiles themselves is a pricy proposition, which has led Pentagon officials to focus on the delivery platform.

“The best way to defeat the cruise missile threat is to shoot down the archer, or sink the archer, that’s out there,” Gortney said at an April news briefing at the Pentagon.

At a congressional hearing in March, Gortney said the Pentagon needed to expand its strategy to “hit that archer.”

If a cruise missile were fired toward Washington, leaders would not have much time to react.

“Solving the cruise missile problem even for Washington requires not just interceptors to be put in place, but also redundant and persistent sensors and planning for what to do, given very short response times,” Karako said

Full article: Pentagon Building Cruise Missile Shield To Defend US Cities From Russia (Defense One)

Comments are closed.