Tag Archives: Intercept

NATO Air Policing Fighters Intercept Russian Aircraft over the Baltic Sea

By on Monday, October 27th, 2014

NATO radars detected and tracked one unidentified aircraft flying in the vicinity of Allied airspace in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, 21 October at approximately 9 a.m. CET. Fighter jets from NATO Ally Denmark (F-16) were scrambled, as were Portuguese F-16 aircraft from NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission in order to identify the aircraft and maintain the security of Allied air space. Non-NATO fighters from Sweden were also involved in the intercept.

The aircraft was identified as a Russian IL-20 (intelligence collection aircraft). The Russian IL-20 took off from Kaliningrad and commenced flying over the Baltic Sea towards Denmark. The Russian aircraft was first intercepted by Danish F-16’s and as the IL-20 headed further north it was intercepted by fighters from Sweden. The Russian aircraft headed south again and Portuguese F-16’s were scrambled. At 12:53 p.m. CET the IL-20 approached Estonian airspace from the northeast. The Russian aircraft entered Estonian airspace near the island of Saaremaa for a period of less than one minute, which represented an incursion of about 600 meters into NATO airspace.

Portuguese F-16s made visual contact with the IL-20 and escorted it until it was further away from NATO airspace. NATO jets assigned to the Baltic Air Policing Mission were available throughout the duration of the Russian flight and the IL-20 was continually tracked using Allied assets on the ground and in the air.

Scrambles and intercepts are standard procedure when an unknown aircraft approaches NATO airspace. However, such flights pose a potential risk to civil aviation given that the Russian military often do not file flight plans, or use their on-board transponders. This means civilian air traffic control cannot detect these aircraft nor ensure there is no interference with civilian air traffic. NATO Allies protect their airspace on a 24/7 basis and NATO tracks all flight activities over Europe.

NATO air defence efforts are focused on stopping unauthorized incursions into NATO airspace and on preventing acts of airborne terrorism.

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Royal Air Force Typhoons Intercept Multiple Russian Aircraft

By on Friday, June 20th, 2014

RAF Typhoons were yesterday (Tuesday 17 June) scrambled to intercept multiple Russian aircraft as part of NATO’s ongoing mission to police Baltic airspace.

The Typhoon aircraft, from 3 (Fighter) Squadron, were launched after four separate groups of aircraft were detected by NATO air defences in international airspace near to the Baltic States.

Once airborne, the British jets identified the aircraft as a Russian Tupolev Tu22 ‘Backfire’ bomber, four Sukhoi Su27 ‘Flanker’ fighters, one Beriev A50 ‘Mainstay’ early warning aircraft and an Antonov An26 ‘Curl’ transport aircraft who appeared to be carrying out a variety of routine training. The Russian aircraft were monitored by the RAF Typhoons and escorted on their way.

The Typhoon pilots involved in the operation were Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Mark Long of 29 (Reserve) Squadron (the Typhoon operational training unit) and a French Air Force exchange pilot Commandant Marc-Antoine Gerrard who is currently attached to 1(Fighter) Squadron.

Flt Lt Long said: “The Typhoon is a superb aircraft that makes intercepting other aircraft exceptionally easy, today’s interception of the Russian Flankers is all in a day’s work for an RAF fighter pilot.”

Typhoon Detachment Commander Wing Commander Ian Townsend said:

“We regularly intercept Russian and civilian aircraft from UK Quick Reaction Alert and so this type of mission is core business for us and exactly what we were sent to the Baltic region by NATO to do. It was a thoroughly successful operation with both my groundcrew and aircrew performing to the exacting professional high standards I have come to expect.”

Background Information

Baltic Air Policing

  • Over the past 10 years the BAP mission has seen NATO allies deploy air defence fighter aircraft to secure NATO’s airspace over the Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The Baltic States do not have their own air defence fighters and the deployment of fighter jets, typically for four month periods, provides strong reassurance to our Allies in the region. The last time the RAF deployed on a BAP mission was in 2004 with the Tornado F3.
  • In the last week, NATO aircraft have been scrambled 13 times due to unidentified aircraft operating around the Baltic region and this is the sixth intercept carried out by the RAF since they arrived in the region in May this year. A total of four RAF Typhoons normally based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, continue to support the Polish led NATO detachment in Lithuania.
  • The Typhoon FGR4 provides the RAF with a multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations. A detachment of 4 Typhoon multi-role fighter aircraft arrived at Siauliai Air Base on 28 April ahead of a 4 month detachment alongside the Polish Air Force.
  • A global Force – RAF Typhoons are also holding QRA duties in the UK and the Falkland Islands.

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Unprecedented Dual Intercept Success for Meads at White Sands Missile Range

The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) intercepted and destroyed two simultaneous targets attacking from opposite directions during a stressing demonstration of its 360-degree air and missile defense (AMD) capabilities at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The flight test achieved all criteria for success.

All elements of the MEADS system were tested, including the 360-degree MEADS Surveillance Radar, a networked MEADS battle manager, two lightweight launchers firing PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) Missiles and a 360-degree MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR). All system elements worked as planned.

MEADS is a next-generation, ground-mobile AMD system that incorporates 360-degree radars, netted and distributed battle management, easily transportable launchers and the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE Missile.

The first target, a QF-4 air-breathing target, approached from the south as a Lance missile, flying a tactical ballistic missile trajectory, attacked from the north. The Surveillance Radar acquired both targets and provided target cues to the MEADS battle manager, which generated cue commands for the MFCR. The MFCR tracked both targets successfully and guided missiles from launchers in the Italian and German configuration to successful intercepts.

“Today’s successful flight test is the culmination of three countries working together to design, develop and build the most advanced and capable air and missile defense weapon system in the world. No fielded ground-mobile AMD system can intercept targets from two directions at the same time, as MEADS did today,” said NATO MEADS Management Agency General Manager Gregory Kee. “MEADS technology can now be leveraged as mature, network-ready battle management, sensors and launchers to achieve the networked AMD capabilities envisioned by Germany, Italy and the United States.”

The test demonstrated over-the-shoulder maneuverability of the PAC-3 MSE Missile in engaging the targets.

“Based on the maturity of the MEADS hardware and software, we asked our customer to expand this test to a dual intercept,” said MEADS International President Dave Berganini. “The MEADS program continues to meet or exceed its commitments. Earlier this year, MEADS successfully demonstrated radar cueing, interoperability with networked NATO systems during Joint Project Optic Windmill (JPOW) and certification of our Mode 5 IFF system. Now we’re thrilled to demonstrate an unprecedented dual-intercept that has met test objectives and readies MEADS for further development and testing in Europe.”

The MEADS program is 3-for-3 in achieving flight test objectives. In November 2011, MEADS performed a simulated intercept of an air-breathing target. In November 2012, MEADS acquired, tracked and destroyed an MQM-107 target. Both tests demonstrated full-perimeter, 360-degree defense with the PAC-3 MSE Missile performing unique over-the-shoulder maneuvers to defeat targets attacking from behind the MEADS emplacement.

MEADS International, a multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Fla., is the prime contractor for the MEADS system. Major subcontractors and joint venture partners are MBDA in Italy and Germany, and Lockheed Martin in the United States.

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Aegis Missile Defense System Completes Successful Intercept Flight Test

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test today of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, resulting in the intercept of a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (8:30 p.m. EDT), a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar.

The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles to engage the target. The first SM-3 that was launched successfully intercepted the target warhead. This was the first salvo mission of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched against a single separating target.

Program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

This test exercised the latest version of the second-generation Aegis BMD Weapon System, capable of engaging longer range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles. This was an operationally realistic test, in which the target’s launch time and bearing are not known in advance, and the target complex was the most difficult target engaged to date.

Today’s event, designated Flight Test-Standard Missile-21 (FTM-21), was the fourth consecutive successful intercept test of the SM-3 Block IB guided missile with the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System.

FTM-21 is the 27th successful intercept in 33 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 63rd successful hit-to-kill intercept in 79 flight test attempts since 2001.

Aegis BMD is the naval component of the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. The Aegis BMD engagement capability defeats short- to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase ballistic missile threats with the SM-3, as well as short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IV missile. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.

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Iranian fighter tries to intercept US drone in Gulf: US

By on Friday, March 15th, 2013

An Iranian fighter jet tried to intercept a US Predator drone over the Gulf but backed off after encountering two American military aircraft, the Pentagon said Thursday.

No shots were fired in the confrontation Wednesday, officials said, but the United States renewed a vow that it would protect its forces in the region.

The Pentagon initially said one of the US aircraft discharged a flare as a warning to the Iranian plane but officials later said no flare was let off.

The incident, which the Pentagon said took place over “international waters,” highlighted the tensions between the two arch-foes and the risks of an accidental clash escalating into a serious crisis.

At one point the Iranian F-4, an old US-built warplane dating from the Vietnam War era, was within 16 miles (25 kilometers) of the unmanned Predator drone, spokesman George Little said.

The unarmed Predator, the workhorse of America’s fleet of robotic planes, was carrying out “a routine classified surveillance flight” over the Gulf when it was approached by the Iranian warplane, he said in a statement.

In November, an Iranian fighter jet fired at a Predator plane, provoking a strongly-worded protest from the United States.

As after the November incident, the Pentagon warned it would keep up surveillance flights over what it deems international waters and to safeguard US forces in the region.

Little said that “we reserve the right to protect our military assets as well as our forces and will continue to do so going forward.”

In December 2011, the Iranians captured a sophisticated Sentinel spy drone after it crashed on Iranian territory, in an embarrassment for Washington.

The United States expanded its military presence around the Gulf over the past year, deploying minesweepers and F-22 fighters to the area.

This came after Iran threatened to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for tough international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

US officials and military commanders worry that a misunderstanding or accident involving the two countries could snowball into conflict.

But they are also keen to maintain a robust American military role in the region to counter Iran and to monitor its naval deployments.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 television released Thursday, US President Barack Obama repeated his warning that all options remained “on the table” should diplomacy fail to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Obama also said it would take “over a year or so” for Tehran to develop an atomic weapon but that “we don’t want to cut it too close.”

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SM-3 Relies on Space-Based Tracking to Intercept a Ballistic Missile Target

Adding space-based surveillance and tracking extends the area covered by the AEGIS BMD cruiser

Adding space-based surveillance and tracking extends the area covered by the AEGIS BMD cruiser

Second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system achieved its first intercept using tracking information from the Space Tracking and Surveillance System Demonstration (STSS-D) satellites during a Missile Defense Agency (MDA) test. The use of this new space-based assets to provide mid-course fire control quality data to an Aegis BMD ship provides the ability for longer range intercepts and defense of larger areas. Initial indications are that all components performed as designed. MDA program officials will assess and evaluate the system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

“STSS-D’s unique vantage point in space allows the sensor payload to see the threat early in its trajectory and provide launch quality data sooner than nearly any other option,” said Bill Hart, vice president of Space Systems for Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business. “We can give our naval warfighters extra time to analyze and respond, by providing target data before the ship can track the threat. That’s a tremendous advantage.”

“Aegis has achieved many firsts, but using accurate tracking information from a satellite to flexibly enable expanded battlespace and the capabilities of the sea-based Aegis BMD system may prove to be one of the program’s most significant milestones,” said Nick Bucci, director of BMD development programs for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business. “For a long time, many have believed the best path forward for missile defense is an architecture that combines flexible sea-based defenses with persistent space-based capabilities. This test proves that technology and that architecture can be a reality.”

During today’s ‘Test Standard Missile-20’ (FTM-20) (February 13, 2013) at 11:10 PM Hawaii Standard Time (HST) the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) AEGIS missile cruiser intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA guided missile.

The target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northeast towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean, where the STSS-D satellites detected it. The track data was transmitted to USS Lake Erie before the on-board SPY-1 radar could detect the target. The satellites continued to provided targeting data for the 2nd Generation AEGIS BMD battle management system, that employed “Launch on Remote” doctrine to engage the threat. The test proved this “launch on remote” concept successful. This doctrine was first employed during testing in April 2011.

Through this intercept method the ship developed a fire control solution from the STSS-D track and launched the SM-3 Block IA guided missile approximately five minutes after target launch. The STSS-D data was used until the target was detected and tracked by the SPY-1 radar, which continued to transmit guidance commands to the SM-3 guided missile until it intercepted the target. On the final phase of the trajectory the SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space where it released its kinetic warhead. The kinetic warhead acquired the target reentry vehicle, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the target.

FTM-20 is the 24th successful intercept in 30 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 58th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 73 flight tests since 2001.

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SM-3 Relies on Space-Based Tracking to Intercept a Ballistic Missile Target

Adding space-based surveillance and tracking extends the area covered by the AEGIS BMD cruiser

Adding space-based surveillance and tracking extends the area covered by the AEGIS BMD cruiser

Second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system achieved its first intercept using tracking information from the Space Tracking and Surveillance System Demonstration (STSS-D) satellites during a Missile Defense Agency (MDA) test. The use of this new space-based assets to provide mid-course fire control quality data to an Aegis BMD ship provides the ability for longer range intercepts and defense of larger areas. Initial indications are that all components performed as designed. MDA program officials will assess and evaluate the system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

“STSS-D’s unique vantage point in space allows the sensor payload to see the threat early in its trajectory and provide launch quality data sooner than nearly any other option,” said Bill Hart, vice president of Space Systems for Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business. “We can give our naval warfighters extra time to analyze and respond, by providing target data before the ship can track the threat. That’s a tremendous advantage.”

“Aegis has achieved many firsts, but using accurate tracking information from a satellite to flexibly enable expanded battlespace and the capabilities of the sea-based Aegis BMD system may prove to be one of the program’s most significant milestones,” said Nick Bucci, director of BMD development programs for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business. “For a long time, many have believed the best path forward for missile defense is an architecture that combines flexible sea-based defenses with persistent space-based capabilities. This test proves that technology and that architecture can be a reality.”

During today’s ‘Test Standard Missile-20’ (FTM-20) (February 13, 2013) at 11:10 PM Hawaii Standard Time (HST) the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) AEGIS missile cruiser intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA guided missile.

The target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northeast towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean, where the STSS-D satellites detected it. The track data was transmitted to USS Lake Erie before the on-board SPY-1 radar could detect the target. The satellites continued to provided targeting data for the 2nd Generation AEGIS BMD battle management system, that employed “Launch on Remote” doctrine to engage the threat. The test proved this “launch on remote” concept successful. This doctrine was first employed during testing in April 2011.

Through this intercept method the ship developed a fire control solution from the STSS-D track and launched the SM-3 Block IA guided missile approximately five minutes after target launch. The STSS-D data was used until the target was detected and tracked by the SPY-1 radar, which continued to transmit guidance commands to the SM-3 guided missile until it intercepted the target. On the final phase of the trajectory the SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space where it released its kinetic warhead. The kinetic warhead acquired the target reentry vehicle, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the target.

FTM-20 is the 24th successful intercept in 30 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 58th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 73 flight tests since 2001.

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