Military Review

US National Missile Defense. State, prospects and threats

October 12 held a joint Russian-Chinese briefing on global security issues on the margins of the first committee of the UN General Assembly. During this event, the official representative of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Alexander Emelyanov, made a number of important statements affecting strategic foreign projects. According to him, the current missile defense program of the United States threatens the existing system of international security.

According to A. Emelyanov, the United States is increasing its anti-missile capabilities based on the desire to gain a strategic advantage. The emergence of a developed missile defense system will allow you to use your own nuclear weapon “With minimal cost” that will impact on global security. Unlimited deployment of anti-missile systems, according to the representative of the Ministry of Defense, can have several negative consequences.

First, the emergence of a developed missile defense system can lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, creating the illusion of impunity. Such a system would allow Washington to hope for its defense when it strikes a potential enemy. The current program also threatens the implementation of existing international treaties, both START III and the agreement on medium and short-range missiles. The third negative consequence is the militarization of outer space in violation of existing agreements to this effect. Finally, the development of missile defense is simply provoking a new arms race.

US National Missile Defense. State, prospects and threats
GBI rocket launch

A. Yemelyanov noted that the thesis about the deployment of the American missile defense system solely as a defense system that does not pose any threats to third countries does not correspond to reality. Russia considers Washington’s missile defense systems a direct threat to its strategic nuclear forces. In addition, because of the American program, third countries find themselves in a difficult situation.

The deployment of American missile defense facilities in the territory of friendly countries leads to serious risks for their security and sovereignty. In fact, the population of an independent state becomes hostage to the Pentagon. It is the US military that will determine how and when to use anti-missile systems. In addition, in the case of their use, the wreckage of downed rockets will fall precisely on the territory of a third country, which made it possible to host alien objects.

Alexander Yemelyanov described the current situation with the US missile defense system, and also cited some of its assessments. Currently, the 60 US antimissile system has been deployed in European countries. Another 150 product of this class is located in the Asia-Pacific region. In total, about one and a half hundred complexes of various types were deployed. They use about 30 GBI and 130 interceptors SM-3. In the foreseeable future, the number of deployed antimissiles will increase.

According to published data, by the 2022 year, the United States will deploy more than a thousand interceptor missiles of all types. In the future, an additional missile defense build-up is possible, with the result that the number of missiles will exceed the number of deployed Russian military units. Such a development will pose a threat to Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

A. Emelyanov mentioned research conducted by Russian specialists. After examining the available data, they concluded that the SM-3 Block IIA interceptors, the deployment of which will begin next year, will differ from their predecessors with increased flight characteristics and new capabilities. They will be able to intercept ballistic missiles both on the final or average and on the ascending part of the trajectory, which will increase the potential of missile defense.

The development of US missile defense will be conducted not only through the deployment of new interceptors. Expected increase in the number of low-orbit spacecraft early detection of launch. The possibility of the appearance of satellites capable of collecting data on the target rocket and transmitting them directly to the interceptor is not excluded.

The US missile defense system also uses several missile attack warning radar stations. Such complexes are able to detect the fact of launch, and then track the flight of missiles and warheads, including by issuing target designation to anti-missile systems. The existing American radars, located both in the United States and in some foreign countries, cover all possible flight regions of Russian missiles. The presence of an advanced network of detection tools simplifies the search, detection and interception of missiles.


The United States National Missile Defense (NMD), in general, consists of several main components that have certain objectives. When used together, all elements of the largest complex are expected to protect US facilities from nuclear-missile strikes of a potential enemy. The latter are considered all foreign countries with missiles with the appropriate characteristics. Based on the geographical location of these countries, the Agency PRO plans to deploy new facilities.

The US NMD system has a significant number of different means of warning of a rocket attack. There is a satellite constellation that tracks the territories of potential enemies; in addition, several radar stations were built. For example, five SSPARS radars track the situation in all directions around the continental United States. Several such facilities were not built on the territories of foreign countries, which greatly increased the size of the monitored areas.

One of the main components of the interception system is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) complex, equipped with the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) rocket. To date, such systems are deployed in Alaska (Fort Greely base) and in California (Vandenberg base). Currently, Fort Greely has 26 deployed antimissiles, Vandenberg has only 4. Earlier it was claimed that in the next few years the number of GBI launchers will be increased almost one and a half times. In the future, it was not excluded the construction of new facilities.

Also, on the order of the Missile Defense Agency, the land terminal Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) was created. It is designed as a mobile system on self-propelled chassis and is equipped with all the necessary devices. The complex THAAD contains its own radar. Used rocket with the kinetic principle of interception. The possibility of a direct hit into a ballistic missile of any class or into a combat unit dropped by it is declared. The lesion is performed on the descending portion of the ballistic trajectory.

To date, several THAAD complexes have been produced and handed over to the customer. The first such system was deployed on about. Guam. Subsequently, new equipment was sent to the US and foreign bases. The complexes serve in the Middle East and in the Asia-Pacific region. Just a few days ago it became known about the upcoming delivery of THAAD to Saudi Arabia.

The most important component of the US missile defense system are ships with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (Aegis BMD) complex. This project provides for equipping existing ships with a set of electronic equipment and several types of interceptor missiles. Depending on various factors, Aegis BMD carrier ships are encouraged to use SM-2, SM-3 or SM-6 missiles. All of these missiles use kinetic interception, but differ in flight characteristics and combat qualities.

The carriers of the Aegis BMD complex can be cruisers of the project Ticonderoga (in the 22 unit formation) and destroyers of the Arleigh Burke type (64 units). At the same time, not all the available ships have undergone the necessary modernization, which is why at present the anti-missile group of the US Navy consists of only a few dozen cruisers and destroyers. In addition, the required equipment was installed on several Japanese ships.

Despite the relatively small share in the total number of surface fleet, such ships pose a noticeable danger to the probable enemy. Unlike land missile defense systems, ships with missiles SM-2, SM-3 or SM-6 can operate in any area of ​​the oceans. In addition, even a few dozen ships can take on board hundreds of missiles. According to A. Emelyanov, now 130 interceptors are deployed on ships and unified land systems.

On the basis of the ship's Aegis BMD system, the land-based Aegis Ashore was developed. As part of this complex, the same components are used as on ships, but now they are located on above-ground structures. In addition, the latest equipment modifications and the latest software versions are applied. To defeat targets, it is proposed to use anti-missiles of the type SM-3 of the current modification. Already built the required facilities in Romania and Poland. A few months ago, Japan expressed its desire to get such a complex.

Complex THAAD on trial

At the previous stages of the construction of the US NMD system, it was proposed to create an airborne anti-missile system. As part of the project, the Boeing YAL-1 flying laboratory was built, equipped with a high-power laser facility. It was assumed that such a plane would be able to remotely destroy the design of the enemy’s rocket and destroy it. After a series of tests, the project was closed as unacceptably expensive and without real prospects. Research of laser systems for strategic missile defense continues, but practically applicable results are not yet available.

To date, the American industry has created and brought to operation several samples of anti-missile weapons. The construction of new facilities and the deployment of weapons continues. In addition, existing projects are being improved. In parallel, experts conduct research necessary for the further development of US NMD. In the context of global security, the deployment and improvement of already existing complexes are of particular importance at the moment.

Earlier, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense mentioned the latest modification of the SM-3 missile with the designation Block IIA. Serial products of this type will have to go to the troops in the near future, and it is expected that they will to some extent increase the potential of missile defense. According to open data, the project SM-3 Block IIA provides for the creation of an improved kinetic interceptor (warhead) with increased maneuverability and a more advanced homing head. It is also planned to get an increase in flight performance.

New modifications of existing missiles, as well as promising products, will have to solve a wider range of tasks. In particular, it is planned to ensure the interception of the target in all parts of its trajectory. Such an opportunity, in combination with a long range of fire, will greatly enhance the potential of the complex.

As in the case of existing and prospective complexes, the potential of the entire US missile defense system will be increased by increasing the number of deployed missiles. It is planned to build new launchers and positioning areas, as well as to deploy complexes in different areas, including outside the United States. Over the past few years, it has been argued that the ultimate goal of current work is the deployment of hundreds of all types of interceptor missiles; most of them will be placed on carrier ships.

According to A. Emelyanov, by the year 2022, the USA will put on duty around 1 thousands of all types of interceptor missiles. It can be assumed that a smaller part of this amount will fall on land-based missiles. The SM-2, SM-3 and SM-6 ships, in turn, will form the basis of the anti-missile group. This will make the entire US NMD system quite flexible and will allow strengthening anti-missile groups in certain regions.

The increase in the number of combat-capable interceptor missiles can significantly affect the strategic situation in the region. The indicated development of the US missile defense system, which involves the deployment of hundreds of antimissiles, can change the situation around the world. Even taking into account various factors that reduce the real likelihood of interception, a large number of missiles turn out to be a serious threat to the strategic nuclear forces of a given country. As a result, Washington receives a convenient tool for influencing a potential enemy.

The current development of US NMD, as well as existing plans in this area, threatens the interests of a number of countries, including Russia, which officials have repeatedly and at different levels said. However, as practice shows, all such statements and warnings were not heard by the addressee. The Pentagon, despite numerous warnings, continues to develop its anti-missile systems, as well as negotiating with foreign countries.

The lack of a desired response from the US military and political leadership leads to the need for a response. First of all, these measures are associated with the development of strike systems, first of all, strategic ballistic missiles and some other weapons. The development of missile defense systems, according to the military, allows minimizing the risks associated with the use of anti-missile systems by the enemy.

The events of recent years directly indicate that Washington intends to fulfill all its plans in the field of missile defense, and is not going to listen to someone else’s criticism. Some details of these plans are known, and the available information is a matter of concern for a number of countries. In all likelihood, in the foreseeable future, the situation in the sphere of strategic nuclear forces and means of countering them will not change in a positive way. There is every reason to wait for the deterioration of the situation. For this reason, interested countries should take the necessary measures to reduce negative effects.

On the materials of the sites:
The Military Balance 2017
Photos used:
Missile Defense Agensy /, US Air Force
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  1. Alexander War
    Alexander War 18 October 2017 07: 24
    Add video “ABM: Impact on Global and Regional Security” - 3 discussion at MCIS-2017
  2. Alexander War
    Alexander War 18 October 2017 08: 16
    Putin has all the info on the United States missile defense
  3. Old26
    Old26 18 October 2017 11: 26
    Cyril had an extremely ungrateful task to convey to the readers all the garbage that is now circulating in the network and the media. The next round of "horror stories" went. If two years ago, representatives of Moscow Region broadcast that everything was a "bunch." If we break through not only the present, but also the future US missile defense system, now representatives of the Defense Ministry are broadcasting the exact opposite. It is understandable, of course, political games and all that, but readers and listeners of their country cannot be considered so stupid that they can hang noodles of all sorts on their ears
    As a result, in such articles (national teams) there are a lot of mistakes, rigged facts (and you don’t have to wait for others in the media), underestimated or, on the contrary, overestimated figures and parameters.
    So in this article, for example, an innovation appears. It turns out that the old American Standard-SM-2 rocket has a kinetic interceptor. The authors of the articles cited by Cyril probably were too lazy to look for something, which is why they wrote the first thing that came to mind. And this is a modern trend - a kinetic interceptor. Although if the authors of these articles had made a little effort in the press, they could have found out that, for example, the Standard SM-2MR and Standard SM-2ER missiles had and have, depending on the modifications, high-explosive or rod warheads of directional and non-directional action. On the latest versions - this is the Mk-125 warhead weighing 115 kg.
    Yes, and the Standard SM-6 is the same warhead. But the rest ... How can, for example, the United States increase the number of ground-based interceptors, which it now has about 40 1,5 times, if in the fiscal year 2018 it is planned to purchase only 4 of these interceptors. Well, etc. etc.
    1. arkadiyssk
      arkadiyssk 18 October 2017 19: 38
      For SM-2, it’s more important not the mistake of which head is used to intercept the missiles, but the information that BMD uses only version IV of this missile, and there are 74 of them in total. of which 3 were shot on tests. And there yes - the head, although explosive, but modified.
  4. viktorch
    viktorch 18 October 2017 12: 08
    I do not quite understand, now there is no asymmetric answer to missile defense? and is it all gone?
    But what about the victorious relations of airfield caps all the previous years? they turn out to be wrong? or maybe the brains generals don’t have enough to plan something more than a couple of days in advance? maybe such "professionals" and "defenders of the homeland" should sit on the bunk, according to the results of their activities? Maybe it's time to repeat 37 years in Moscow? but for one thing in the government? Well, since they are not able to protect people from an external threat, it means that they are for one with a probable adversary.
    1. ZVO
      ZVO 18 October 2017 18: 57
      Quote: viktorch
      I do not quite understand, now there is no asymmetric answer to missile defense?

      Asymmetric answers do not exist.
      In order for one missile with a nuclear submarine to reach an aircraft carrier, it is necessary to design and build:
      1. bases for nuclear submarines,
      2. the submarines themselves,
      3. create manufacturing enterprises, purchase equipment for them
      4. To learn tens of thousands of people, both industrialists and military personnel.
      and many many others.
      The same goes for any other type of weapon.

      Action is always equal to counteraction.
      Physics is for everyone.
  5. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 18 October 2017 13: 00
    Americans do not immediately try to make a 100% shield over the whole country.
    Even such a "local task" as covering Silicon Valley, Seattle
    and the big cities of California already justify all the costs: there is such
    a huge share of GDP and the latest technologies that are only complete
    slobs can leave this "to the will of fate" without protection.
    1. arkadiyssk
      arkadiyssk 18 October 2017 16: 56
      40 interceptors justify themselves a little differently. No one in Russia or China knows exactly which objects are protected by these missiles, and the number of warheads for attack is limited. Therefore, because of these 40 missiles, it is necessary to increase the number of missiles launched for all strategic purposes, in order to guarantee their suppression. And this can only be done by abandoning the destruction of secondary targets in the territory of the South Caucasus.
  6. Old26
    Old26 19 October 2017 01: 17
    They can start throwing me slippers at me now, but sometimes the most sober thoughts of trustworthy people for some reason do not find their reflection in the media and other structures. But the Americans really were right when they say that their missile defense system is not against Russia. Take the current layout. The Russian armed forces, or rather the Strategic Missile Forces, currently have about 3 hundred ICBMs (in real terms, less, but the meaning is not in exact numbers)
    Relatively speaking, we have one hundred with a small monoblock missiles and about the same number of missiles with rgch. We will not trifle. Let there be 250 missiles in total, and 750 blocks.
    Next, take the directory of an air defense officer (as an example) and see how many interceptors are needed to defeat all of this armada of BG (not counting false targets). Even if the individual probability of defeat will be about 0,97, which is quite normal for an interceptor, then for a defeat with a 100% guarantee it will be necessary to launch TWO interceptors. But again, we will not trifle. Let there be “one target, one interceptor”. How many missiles of interceptors are needed, on which there is only one kinetic interceptor so far? At least SEVEN FIFTY, and with the condition of false goals, even more. It turns out that they will need about a thousand strategic interceptors only to intercept only the Strategic Missile Forces. But there is also SLBMs. And they hang noodles for us about a thousand interceptors in 2020, that our missiles can be shot down on take-off after 150 seconds, etc. And the representatives of the native MO broadcast about this .....

    And now, comrade arkadiyssk The answer to your question. No one can say for sure (except, of course, the US military itself). Most of these ground-based interceptors capable of intercepting BB intercontinental missiles are concentrated in Alaska. ; launchers - in California. But they are located so that they can intercept missiles going to the United States from the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean
    This system is not able to intercept the strike of a fairly small number of Chinese missiles, therefore, when Americans are considering options, they usually rely on a preemptive strike. In China, in order to at least “thin out” their strategic missile forces. And so, the entire air defense system of the North American continent is designed to intercept missiles from rogue countries, from the same DPRK. And no more. Here we are not even talking about primary goals and the rejection of secondary goals. In order to cause damage to the country, after which the country will not be able to wage a full-fledged war - it is not necessary to burn it all out. It is enough to destroy large industrial centers, million-plus cities, the most serious enterprises, power plants, and transportation hubs in terms of defense. There are not many such goals in the United States. I think a hundred and a half, no more. .
    Our “Voivode” alone carries 10 combat units and a number of false heavy targets simulating a warhead in its parameters to the very ground. Let's not be greedy, let there be such blocks, well, for example 4. That is, you, as a US missile defense officer, need to destroy at least 14 targets. Even with one anti-missile target, your ammunition can destroy blocks of at most TWO missiles. Recharging time is significant. And one BG that exploded in the vicinity of the missile defense base will multiply it by zero. There will already be no one to recharge. So not everything is as scary as we are told.
    Of course you can’t underestimate, but also overestimate and broadcast that "everything is gone, the plaster is removed, the client is leaving" is also not worth it
    1. Cherry Nine
      Cherry Nine 20 October 2017 02: 56
      Quote: Old26
      but sometimes the most sober thoughts of trustworthy people for some reason do not find their reflection in the media and other structures

      "Sober Thought" that the missile defense system as it stands it is not intended to repulse a global blow, it is obvious to anyone familiar with an account within 1000. At the same time, the organizations that you call the media are engaged, at best, in clickbite, and are not interested in sobriety. They are interested in a crazy heading, one way or another.
      Quote: Old26
      but readers and listeners of their own country cannot be considered so stupid that they can hang noodles of all sorts on their ears

      You can, as you see.
      Quote: Old26
      representatives of the Moscow Region broadcast the exact opposite.

      MO representatives want money, maybe. And they believe that the competence of the political leadership of the country is such that already such a shnyaga can ride.
  7. gregor6549
    gregor6549 19 October 2017 15: 15
    Hello to all. I can’t consider myself an "expert" on missile defense, but at one time I gave more than one year to the development of various air defense and missile defense systems. My opinion: there was no, no, and there would be no missile defense systems with an 100% probability of defeating all or most of the enemy’s strategic missiles (missiles and planes) participating in a massive raid. (And only massive raids are planned by both sides. And those IOS that will survive will be enough to destroy each other with confidence. Therefore, all the loud arguments about the super duper of the mid-attack and the super dupe of the defense mean nothing more than fairy tales for fools and haunt these tales one goal: untwist each side for a couple of three extra billions, which then also sawn ... but quietly.