Navy Ducks Sat Shootdown Redo

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The U.S. Navy marshaled its resources quickly to shoot down a broken satellite recently, but there are no plans to stay ready for a repeat performance, a senior Navy official said Wednesday.

When the U.S. government decided that the falling spy satellite posed a risk, missile defense officials assembled a takedown plan within weeks. It worked — last month, the Pentagon smacked the satellite out of the sky and demolished the bird’s hydrazine fuel tank, which the military officials said could have survived re-entry and spilled its poisonous cargo.

Despite this success, the Missile Defense Agency ducked when asked whether it could spring into action faster for a repeat performance. It would depend on too many technical specifics to say, said Rear Adm. Alan “Brad” Hicks, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense program manager, at a Navy League press conference.

He said there’s no further work on the concept because last month’s shootdown was a one-time event, so there’s no active requirement for the technology to work against satellites on an ongoing basis.

“It is not a core mission. It is not a capability out there for us to use,” Hicks said.

The U.S. Navy’s satellite shootdown cost around $90 million, he said. That’s not including additional costs for sensors, engineers and other support that isn’t factored into the initial ballpark estimate.

— Rebecca Christie

  • Mike

    What type of ship was the satellite shot down with? A Ticonderoga Class cruiser?

  • Aussie ArmchairGeneral

    It was the USS Lake Erie (CG-70); a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Lake_Erie_(CG-70)

  • Aussie ArmchairGeneral

    Did the Ticonderoga-class modernization program get scrapped? It was due to commence in 2006 according to http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cg-47-mod.htm
    “CG modernization begins in FY 2006. The first ship scheduled to undergo modernization is USS Cape St. George (CG 71). The remaining 21 baseline 2, 3 and 4 cruisers have varying capabilities. The cruiser conversion program will result in all 22 ships having a common warfighting baseline.”

  • Aussie ArmchairGeneral

    I’ll answer my own question:
    It looks like it just commenced in February 2008 with the USS Bunker Hill going in to dry dock. See:
    http://peoships.crane.navy.mil/News/Feb21_2008_01.htm?story_id=35130

  • yousaf

    have a look at:
    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3ac0a7d1cf-700c-4054-acb2-e44de336e7ec
    Specifically the part: