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The Boston Globe November 8, 2001
Missile defense system criticized

Lawmakers question cost, effectiveness

By Bloomberg News, 11/8/2001

WASHINGTON - The cost of a new US system of early warning satellites has soared, and its heat-seeking sensors that are critical to detecting enemy missile launches don't work, according to the House Appropriations Committee.

The satellites being built by Lockheed Martin Corp., TRW Inc., and Raytheon Co. are the eyes of a missile defense system President Bush wants to deploy as soon as possible.

''If not addressed properly, it will be impossible for the administration to deploy a system that they could even claim might be effective,'' said John Pike, a military space analyst with GlobalSecurity

.org, an arms control group.

The system ''is the backbone of missile defense,'' he said. ''I don't see how the administration can move ahead without it.''

The Space-Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, will have two constellations of satellites. Six satellites would be placed in high orbit to detect the infrared blast of an enemy missile launched anywhere on earth. The first of these is scheduled for 2005. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor.

A lower layer of 30 satellites would track the missile after launch and provide early target locations for US interceptors. TRW and Raytheon are partners for this segment. Its first satellite is scheduled to launch in 2006.

Both constellations have serious problems, said the House panel. It cut funds for both programs to slow them and look at other technologies in case one had to be canceled.

The congressional concerns about the missile defense system come amid reports of a possible restructuring of the missile defense network by the Pentagon.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that representatives of Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed met with the Pentagon's top missile defense official, Air Force Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish. Kadish, who wants to restructure the network, proposed creating a national team of partners to work together on the defense measures, the paper said. The companies must respond by year-end. Any restructuring could change the fortunes of weapons contractors such as Boeing and other companies such as General Dynamics Corp. may see greater demand for their work, the Journal said.

This story ran on page C7 of the Boston Globe on 11/8/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.


Copyright 2001 The Press Enterprise Co.