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06 Apr 17. Ballistic missiles will soon be easier to detect and defeat. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $10m contract modification to continue the development of hardware and software that will add gallium nitride, or GaN semiconductor technology to the AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar.
GaN increases the radar’s range, search capabilities and enables the system to better discriminate between threats and non-threats. Gallium nitride technology also increases the system’s overall reliability while maintaining production and operational costs.
“AN/TPY-2 is already the world’s most capable land-based, X-band, ballistic missile defense radar,” said Raytheon’s Dave Gulla, vice president of the Integrated Defense Systems Mission Systems and Sensors business area. “Adding GaN technology modernizes the system so it can defeat all classes of ballistic missiles in extreme operational environments.”
The AN/TPY-2 is on pace to be the world’s first transportable, land-based ballistic missile defense radar to use GaN technology.
The AN/TPY-2 radar operates in two modes:
1. In forward-based mode, the radar is positioned near hostile territory, and detects, tracks and discriminates ballistic missiles shortly after they are launched.
2. In terminal mode, the radar detects, acquires, tracks and discriminates ballistic missiles as they descend to their target. The terminal mode AN/TPY-2 is the fire control radar for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense ballistic missile defense system, by guiding the THAAD missile to intercept a threat.
05 Apr 17. The head of U.S. Strategic Command has issued new guidance on securing nuclear weapons sites against small, unmanned systems, a bureaucratically challenging but increasingly vital security issue for the Pentagon.
Gen. John Hyten, the head of STRATCOM, told Congress in a hearing Tuesday that “just in the last week” he has issued guidance to forces on how they should respond if a drone appears near a military weapon site, be it a submarine base, an ICBM missile field, or a storage facility.
“I’ve signed out guidance to my forces to give them kind of parameters on how they should respond if they see a threat UAV or a surveillance UAV, and to give them specific guidance so that it — so a young Marine at Kings Bay or an Airmen at F.E. Warren doesn’t have to worry about, ‘what should I be doing when I see that?’” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Just what that guidance is, however, remains classified, a decision that Hyten’s deputy, Vice Admiral Charles Richard, supports.
“The details are best not discussed in public, any more so than you would expect [legendary New England Patriots head coach] Bill Belichick to tell you what the play book looks like,” Richard told Defense News after an appearance at the Navy League Sea Air Space conference.
“Gen. Hyten basically made it clear to those commanders what authorities, what they are allowed to do, and removed some level of uncertainty from that,” Richard added. “He’s been pressing us very hard for that, and I think for very good reasons, and I’m happy we were able to finally get something to his satisfaction.”
The issue of small drones flying around nuclear sites has been troubling the Pentagon for several years, particularly as groups like the Islamic State have shown that cheap, off-the-shelf quadcopters can be weaponized or used for surveillance.
In September, Gen. Robin Rand, the head of U.S. Air Force Strategic Command, said there had been several incidents of small drones hovering near weapons facilities. Weeks later, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called the threat of small drones near nuclear bases “a concern.”
On Tuesday, Hyten acknowledged what he called “incidental activities” around nuclear facilities, b