NATO and United States Set to Test Missile Defense Link
For the first time, the
“The weapons systems and sensors in the EPAA, including Aegis cruisers, are already part of the planned ALTBMD program and architecture, and integration efforts have already been initiated. The interfaces exist and have been tested,” says Alessandro Pera, head of NATO’s ALTBMD program. The upcoming test will be the first time the two systems are formally linked, and it is expected to lead to the establishment of a permanent link over the course of 2011.
The ALTBMD Integration Testbed at NATO’s Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) facility in
Approved in 2009, the EPAA began initial deployment aboard the USS Monterey. The EPAA architecture will feature deployments of increasingly capable sea- and land-based missile interceptors, primarily upgraded versions of the Standard Missile-3, and a range of sensors in Europe to defend against the growing ballistic missile threat from
Launched in 2004, the ALTBMD is designed to protect deployed forces against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles—those that can reach targets approximately 1,800 miles away. The system was originally designed only for force protection, but at the NATO November 2010 Summit, officials agreed to expand the program’s objective to cover the protection of NATO territory and populations against the growing missile threat. In January, the program handed over a first interim capability to NATO’s commanders.
The NATO program’s focus is on the upgrade, test and integration of NATO’s C3 systems to provide effective information exchanges between various NATO and national missile defense systems in operations planning and in the execution of wartime missions. NATO is implementing the program incrementally.
The ALTBMD will link a wide range of sensors and weapon systems delivered by various nations. NATO’s Air Command and Control System will play a central role in tying together all of the various systems and providing situational awareness. In addition, the planning environment to be established will be one of NATO’s first uses of service-oriented architecture concepts similar to those used in many commercial applications, such as banking.
In December, NATO’s system was tested in the laboratory with a myriad of systems from other nations, including
NATO already is planning an array of upgrades, including a communications capability with civil authorities such as emergency responders. The upgrades have been estimated to cost nearly $300 million, but officials now believe they may be able to deliver the same capabilities for half that cost.