Navy Ducks Sat Shootdown Redo


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

  • Aussie ArmchairGeneral

    Did the Ticonderoga-class modernization program get scrapped? It was due to commence in 2006 according to
    “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:

  • yousaf

    have a look at:
    Specifically the part: