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Australia BMD Strategy

This is a discussion on Australia BMD Strategy within the Missiles & WMDs forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; What is Australia's strategy for dealing with potential ballistic missile threats? Thinking specifically of North Korea whose missiles have the ...


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Old December 26th, 2015   #1
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Australia BMD Strategy

What is Australia's strategy for dealing with potential ballistic missile threats? Thinking specifically of North Korea whose missiles have the range to reach Down Under. Is the new Defence White Paper likely to include concrete recommendations for a BMD program?
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Old December 26th, 2015   #2
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What is Australia's strategy for dealing with potential ballistic missile threats? Thinking specifically of North Korea whose missiles have the range to reach Down Under. Is the new Defence White Paper likely to include concrete recommendations for a BMD program?
To be honest we are to small to really have the ability to really have an impact in that area. The 3x Hobart's from memory have the ability to intercept short to intermediate-range in there terminal phase of flight with SM-6 but no ability to intercept ICBM. But in saying that Nth Korea possibly has the capability and it would be on a known trajectory, if the Hobart's were available and we had them in the right place at the right time in theory they could do the job.

If the government truly wanted the capability we would need more than 3 ships and upgrade our missile stock to incorporate SM-3 which is vastly more superior and expensive than SM-6, as only have 3x ships mean a decrease in capability in their primary role of support a task group at a different location, but to achieve the aims what do we lose.


EDIT
but in saying that I believe Nth Korea is the least of our worries, I don't believe that they are totally insane enough to launch a preemptive strike on Australia, they have far more lucrative targets if they were insane enough. North Korean incentive for these weapons are to win concession.

The more probable scenario is a limited skirmish between the US and China, with China targeting vital US communication facility here in Australia. In the case of increased tensions which may lead to a likely conflict I imagine the US would have plans in place to safe guard these facility's with a combination of offshore Ageis ships and US Army Patriot battalion's


Ballistic missile defence and Australia

Last edited by t68; December 26th, 2015 at 06:33 PM.
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Old December 26th, 2015   #3
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I was also thinking of land-based alternatives eg. AEGIS-Ashore, THAAD, PAC-3, etc but the real issue would be the political will to pay for a missile shield. And I suppose a lot would depend on how aware and concerned the public are about a possible BMD strike.
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Old December 27th, 2015   #4
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I was also thinking of land-based alternatives eg. AEGIS-Ashore, THAAD, PAC-3, etc but the real issue would be the political will to pay for a missile shield. And I suppose a lot would depend on how aware and concerned the public are about a possible BMD strike.
Australia has no particular interest in shore based systems.

Im pretty confident that we will eventually get BMD capability in the AWD's. But we will have to see what is set out in the new WP.
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Old December 27th, 2015   #5
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I recall reading some years back that a single AEGIS ship equipped with a more powerful SM3 Blk2A off Northern Luzon would be in a good position to intercept NK missiles heading in Oz' direction. That could be one derensive layer. Ideally there would be others, including one for terminal phase defense.
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Old December 27th, 2015   #6
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I recall reading some years back that a single AEGIS ship equipped with a more powerful SM3 Blk2A off Northern Luzon would be in a good position to intercept NK missiles heading in Oz' direction. That could be one derensive layer. Ideally there would be others, including one for terminal phase defense.
BMD is best done as part of a network. Australia works with the US, Korea, Japan. JORN now I believe feeds in to the US warning system. Australia could certainly in the future integrate (given upgrades) into a US led fleet of Korean and Japanese ships in a BMD operation.

But if you wanted to intercept a BMD coming to Australia, you would really want to intercept it in boost phase. Terminal defense is a last resort, decoys, MIRV or just inaccurate missiles would cause all sorts of problems.Terminal defense is only really what you would want to use if someone launches deep inside their territory where you can't intercept it. Even if you do intercept it, the end result is still pretty bad, as what ever it was carrying is still going to fall onto your city.

Mid course intercepts would be very difficult because the height of a long range missile would need say from NK to Australia.

IMO a BM attack on an Australian city is unlikely (but not impossible). Attacking a civilian city so far away, of a minor player would be idiocy even beyond NK and would have a high chance of failure (NK is unlikely to launch a single missile in such an attack and would consume their longest range, most expensive, rarest weapon for a very low value target that would almost certainly result in a full nuclear strike in retaliation).

What is more likely is BM or similar attack on a fleet that Australia is part of. If Australia wanted something that could operate in the SCS or around Japan or even around the pacific then ABM would be a requirement (at least in a few years time). Certainly if we wanted to actually contribute to protection around Japan or Korea then it would be a requirement.

Terminal and mid course intercepts are then much more useful.

A useful read is this PDF.

https://www.aspi.org.au/publications...e/SI71_BMD.pdf

IMO theater defense puts it as a requirement. Sm-6 and Sm-3 are something we should be planning to get in the future.

Last edited by StingrayOZ; December 27th, 2015 at 09:50 PM.
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Old December 27th, 2015   #7
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In 2011 the Defense Science Board submitted it's report to the US SecDef, extract attached. Note that Boost Phase Interception is ideal but problematic and not currently possible. The focus is on achieving Early Intercept capabilitym targeting the missile before it has achieved apogee. Forward-deployed networked sensors and longer-range interceptors will be needed.

Chapter 1:
The Value of Early Intercept and the Ability to Achieve It

Possible Value of EI

After much discussion and a number of briefings by MDA and others, the Task Force identified three potential areas in which EI, if achievable, might have considerable value.

• The ability to deny an adversary the use of penetration aids or early release of
submunitions: While boost-phase intercept (currently not feasible) is a fundamental counter to either of these offense tactics, there could be some value in a post-boost intercept, provided it was early enough.

• The ability to achieve a S-A-S firing doctrine: If the first shot by the defense could be made early enough in the ballistic missile trajectory, sufficient time might remain to assess the lethality of the first shot before firing an additional interceptor missile(s).As will be shown, a S-A-S firing doctrine offers the potential for cost savings by reducing required interceptors per enemy ballistic
missile.

• The ability to achieve a large defensive footprint or area of protection: By a suitable combination of interceptor location and interceptor velocity, an intercept early in the offensive trajectory can cast a large defensive “shadow” – i.e., the azimuth and elevation spread of outgoing ballistic missiles heading to different targets will not have propagated very broadly, and thus a single defensive firing battery can protect a large ensemble of potential target areas.
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Old December 28th, 2015   #8
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In 2011 the Defense Science Board submitted it's report to the US SecDef, extract attached. Note that Boost Phase Interception is ideal but problematic and not currently possible. The focus is on achieving Early Intercept capabilitym targeting the missile before it has achieved apogee. Forward-deployed networked sensors and longer-range interceptors will be needed.
Boost Phase is good, on the ground is better, and before developed is the best.

Latest SM-3 II would probably be able to take out a NK ICBM missile in boost or near boost in its current form depending on a range of positive factors, missile type, where it was headed, if it was close enough, predictable enough boost phase etc. However, you wouldn't rely on it to intercept all missiles launched from anywhere. Its IMO the most capable/flexible ABM system (near) afloat today.

II-A isn't expected to be deployed until testing is complete during 2016. II-A IMO will probably deliver the capability most are looking for.

In 2005 it was estimated that the US had capability to intercept boosting phase if launched within 50km of a ship.(Hildreth). II-A isnt exactly a known quantity but Raython have a nice chart saying by 2018 they will be ready to intercept long range (5,500km+) ICBMs.

Raytheon Australia: Standard Missile-3 (SM-3)

Which is why IMO Australia should watch carefully but not perhaps jump in yet. SM-3 IIA is still very new, there would be a dozen countries with greater need than us (including the USA), and its still expensive and may be further refined.
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Old December 28th, 2015   #9
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Other Countries to watch
The Israelis have Arrow 3 (BMD) and Iron Dome and lots of other anti-missile stuff and they need it. I would be keeping an eye on them. Not sure how good the Ruskies are but probably worth a look?

Emerging Technologies
Of course, lasers, particle beams and railguns are improving as well. I like the concept of speed of light responses. Longer range JORN would also assist our awareness.

The Future
All Army Regular and Reserve Brigades in 10-20 years time should be considering incorporating mobile BMD/AD/SS missile/laser capabilities to their artillery regiment. A future Lark/Gull/Sparrow force should be able to engage and survive land, naval and air opponents independently of air and naval support. Consider the long range capability to engage satellites.

All Navy combatants should have the same capabilities plus rail guns for surface combatants.
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Old December 29th, 2015   #10
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SM-3 joins the US and Japanese ABM programs together. IMO its the right program to join.

SM-3 is expected to have a considerable range. I would imagine any Australian operation requiring it would be able to be covered by ships (~200+ km from the ships). Sm-6 and SM-3 will have most things covered.

If the AWD were upgraded to a BMD baseline and filled with SM-6 and SM-3 that would be all the capability we would need.

For anything land based we would rely on partners like the US to keep things clear.
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Old December 29th, 2015   #11
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So my Question ;

Are the Hobarts capable of detecting BMD's?(say like the Burke's can,and for that matter "our" ships "the Sevens"?i mean it all starts there,no?(we also need the sm-3/sm-6 to fire actually against those bmd's,hope we'll get these.)

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Old December 30th, 2015   #12
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So my Question ;

Are the Hobarts capable of detecting BMD's?(say like the Burke's can,and for that matter "our" ships "the Sevens"?i mean it all starts there,no?(we also need the sm-3/sm-6 to fire actually against those bmd's,hope we'll get these.)

gr,walter
The AWD are able to be upgraded to BMD if we wanted to. The killer is cost. SM-3 is arguably the most capable system out there, its also quite expensive. We also only have 3 ships capable of firing SM-3 (with an upgrade), is it worth it? With so few ships it is unlikely we will launch a SM-3 without other allies providing targeting data. We will have to see what the future frigates end up with. IMO if we want to be able to operate in the SCS then it is something we have to consider.

I do believe Australia will purchase SM-6. SM-6 is a lot cheaper, and is suitable for other general air missions against missiles and aircraft. I would imagine these would also filter down to the future frigate depending on what we get. We would keep SM-2 and put SM-6 on anything going into harms way.

SM-6 has a flight ceiling of about 33 km and a range of <400km. You can intercept aircraft and missiles, a few seconds (terminal) before impact that are directly aimed at you. Costs about $5m.

SM-3 II-A has a flight ceiling of 1,500 km and a range of 2,500km. You can intercept ICBM's, LEO satellites (and higher). Costs about $20m+ per missile.

They are completely different missiles. SM-6 is an evolution of current missiles. SM-3 is otherworldly in comparison. It is a big, heavy multistage rocket designed to take down objects in space/big heavy multistage missiles. SM-3 has be stretched in every dimension, I doubt you can fit a bigger missile into a Mk41 VLS, in many way they are like ICBM's themselves.

So while we could put in an initial buy of say 20 SM-6 for $100m and sprinkle them across AWD's or frigates and get quite a big of capability for the buck.

$100m would buy very little Sm-3 as the systems would need to be upgraded and would be only for the AWD's (at least at this stage), you might be looking at $200m to get a useful SM-3 capability.
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Old January 5th, 2016   #13
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Recent developmemts will have raised the stakes for Oz IMO. The USN has confirmed a NK SLBM capability and Pyongyang has detonated what it claims to be a Hhdrogen device.
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Old January 5th, 2016   #14
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Recent developmemts will have raised the stakes for Oz IMO. The USN has confirmed a NK SLBM capability and Pyongyang has detonated what it claims to be a Hhdrogen device.
Not really, Simple matter of fact is we wont be getting any land based BM defence and the Hobart class still has a way to go before we get the first one (around 18 months).

Australia's only real contribution to a BM shield is JORN, And talks with that have been going on for years. I wouldnt be surprised if it is integrated already to some extent to the US ballistic defence.
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Old January 7th, 2016   #15
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I would say with near certainty that we will get SM-6 and it will have some form of terminal BMD.

I would imagine on top of JORN, the AWD will also assist in a BMD shot at some point providing targeting data or observing.

Certainly I don't think it would be that controversial if Australia got SM-3. We have stated for a long time that we intend to get BMD type of capability. I don't think China or North Korea would really be concerned about it, and its quite different to US, Japan and S.Korea operating SM-3. Really the killer is cost and need. Australia is so far away and so unlikely to be a target that the protect the mainland argument isn't really relevant for the money spent.

But it is possible(likely) in time that costs come down significantly, and improvements in opposing weapon systems or change in threats mean SM-3 is more useful for Australia. So we shouldn't rule it out.
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