Strategic Weapons: January 20, 2002


The Pentagon cancelled the Navy's Area Defense anti-missile concept at the end of last year. The program was far behind schedule and far over budget because of problems integrating the semi-active radar seeker of the Standard-IV anti-aircraft missile with an infrared terminal seeker mounted on the side of the missile. As the Navy still wants to be in the anti-missile business, it is now considering plans to mount the active radar seeker of the Patriot PAC-3 missile onto the airframe of the Standard-IV. This is considerably more complex than just unplugging one radar to insert the other, and it could take a year or two to get it to work. The Navy previously looked at the idea of just using the Army's Patriot PAC-3 missile as is, but found that it would have to add another booster to get the needed range and would then have trouble getting the missile to fit into the launchers. Using Patriot seekers in Navy missiles is not a new idea; the Navy is already considering a derivative called the Standard-V that would using the Standard airframe and Patriot seeker to engage cruise missiles at long range.--Stephen V Cole


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