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Corps SAM [Corps Surface-to-Air Missile]

The CORPS SAM program was initiated in 1987 when it was initially identified as the Medium Surface-to-Air Missile (MSAM) project. A system need was determined from data generated during a study of threat deficiencies that existed in the fielded low-to-medium air defense system. In 1989, the Army recognized that it needed to replace some of its aging air defense systems, including the Homing All-the-Way to Kill (HAWK) missile. The Army wanted the HAWK's replacement to be rapidly deployable, capable against weapons of mass destruction, and able to defeat a wide range of targets. The CORPS SAM program was initiated in early 1990.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology approved concept exploration for a new surface-to-air missile but stated that the Army needed a draft agreement for allied participation before system development would be approved. Authority to enter the Concept Exploration and Definition (CE&D) phase was directed by an Army Acquisition Executive Memorandum, dated 6 August 1990. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) approved the validated Mission Need Statement (MNS) on 3 August 1990 requiring an air defense capability to meet the evolving air threat. The CORPS SAM program was assigned to Project Management Office 3 (PMO) authority in September 1990. Because the proposed system was in a very early phase of development (concept definition) in 1992, requirements have not been defined. DOD did not plan to approve a program cost estimate until after a concept has been selected. As of 1993 the CORPS SAM system was to be fielded around the year 2005 timeframe.

CORPS SAM was an Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) weapon which was intended to replace HAWK III air defense system. The CORPS SAM system was envisioned to be the center of the Army's Corps Area Air Defense. The Army Battlefield 3 Development Plan identified the need for a Corps air defense capability which was attributed to inherent limitations in the current HAWK air defense system. An analysis of the mission area indicated that the Corps air defense need cannot be satisfied by a non-materiel solution.

The Corps Surface-to-Air Missile was to be an air transportable, rapidly deployable, highly mobile air defense system. Its mission is to destroy both aircraft and tactical missiles. Its employment is to range from a relatively stationary role in rear areas to a highly mobile role when defending a moving force. The CORPS SAM system was to have the capabiiity to kill airbreathing threats such as fixed-wing (FW), rotary-wing (RW), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs) within its engagement envelope in the presence of Electronic Countermeasures (ECM). For TBM engagements, the CORPS SAM system was to combine sufficient high intercept altitude and warhead lethality to minimize the effects of chemical, high explosive, and biological payloads at ground level.

CORPS SAM must provide other desirable characteristics that HAWK cannot provide. The system will be linked with the Forward Area Air Defense System (FAADS) in the forward area to provide air defense to the Maneuver Force. It must be capable of protecting assets located in the Echelons Above Corps (EAC) area in conjunction with other EAC systems such as the Theater High 3 Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and PATRIOT systems. The CORPS SAM system, therefore, must be interoperable with existing and planned U.S., Joint, and Allied Air Defense weapons and BMC3I systems such as THAAD, PATRIOT, and FAADS. The system will operate in all battlefield environments, including all weather, day/night, man-made and natural obscurant and countermeasure environments. The system must be strategically and tactically deployable, and tactically mobile for deployment into and within any theater of operation.

The CORPS SAM system must have long-term storage capability and be capable of being rapidly mobilized and deployed in modular configurations for use in conflicts ranging from immature through mature theaters of operation. The system must be manpower efficient, anticipating force structure levels of less than 500 slots per battalion. All proposed weapon systems must meet certain criteria; i.e., transportable via C-130 aircraft, subsystems transportable via 3 CH-47D helicopter, sufficiently flexible deployability to engage front line targets as well as provide rear echelon air defense support.

The CORPS SAM system was a major new system start, consisting of netted, distributed, and replicated components capable of providing Corps ADA coverage collectively. These components are required to execute ADA missions supporting Airland Operations. The CORPS SAM system is expected to be employed as an integrated battalion distributed over an area of influence as large as 100 kilometers (KM) by 200 KM and may fight as part of a complete defense Task Force (e.g., PATRIOT/ HAWK/Avenger/future ADA systems) fully interoperable with both High-to-Medium Altitude Defense (HIMAD) and FAADS. CORPS SAM is a medium range, mobile ADA weapon intended to protect ground forces from attack by aircraft, helicopters, and TBMs. The system will consist of multiple subsystem elements and be modular in design. The modularity design permits reconfiguration of the system considering mission, enemy, troops, terrain, and time (METT-T) for rapid deployment with the requirement for less aircraft and to meet intra-theater airlift transportability requirements. The CORPS SAM's subsystem elements will consist of: weapon system kill vehicle, multi-function radar, BM/C 3 , tactical operations center (TOC), 3 and associated support equipment.

The COEA Study Plan, dated August 1992, provided by TRAC-SAC, Fort Leavenworth, covered five major system alternatives.

  1. Base Case. The current HAWK Phase IIIA system consists of a three missile launcher, High Powered Illuminating (HPI) radar, Platoon Command Post (PCP) fire control, and the Continuous Wave Acquisition Radar (CWAR).
  2. Alternative Number 1. Improved HAWK components. Improvement to components of the system beyond those currently planned and funded (i.e., USMC HAWK).
  3. Alternative Number 2. PATRIOT Advanced Capabilities- 3 (PAC-3) proliferation, configured as follows: multi-mode missile, Phase III radar, and Phase III remote launcher. The PAC-3 program is a series of time release major upgrades defined in the original Pre-Planned Product Improvement, RAM Growth Plan and the Quick Response Program. Each upgrade builds on the previous one.
  4. Alternative Number 3. Same as alternative 2, but PAC-3 will be modified to allow ease in transportability using a common launcher equating to a PAC-3 "light."
  5. Alternative Number 4. The conceptual CORPS SAM using the Strawman 6.1 configuration as provided by the CORPS SAM Program 3 Management Office (PMO).

In 1993 a Manpower and Personnel Requirements Analysis was performed for the Base Case (HAWK III) and the four major alternatives (USMC HAWK, PAC-3, PAC-3 "Light", and CORPS SAM) in conjunction with the COEA Study Plan. The CORPS SAM manpower requirements per battalion (507) were slightly higher than the current HAWK III manpower requirements (497). This can be attributed to the additional ADA battery and not to the workload demands of the new system. Manpower requirements for the PAC-3 and PAC-3 "Light" alternatives equated to 544 positions per battalion since operator (MOS 16T) and maintainer (MOS 24T) manpower requirements are higher than those of the Base Case and require significant increases in support equipment operator and maintainer MOS slots, particularly in wheel vehicle maintenance and fuel transport operators. Manpower requirements for the USMC HAWK amounted to 551 per battalion because operator (MOS 14D) and maintainer (MOS 23R) manpower requirements are higher than those of the Base Case and a DS Maintenance requirement which can be attributed to the additional battery.

In March 1995, the Army developed a strawman concept of MEADS' predecessor, the Corps Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system. On the basis of this concept, the Army said it could reduce Corps SAM's cost by utilizing technology from existing missile programs, such as PAC-3 and THAAD. The Army's belief that Corps SAM/MEADS would make extensive use of other systems' technology indicates that it could reasonably be expected to require information about those systems.

The Army was successful in finding U.S. allies that were interested in jointly acquiring a new air and missile defense system. In the early 1990's, Germany expressed an interest in joining the Corps SAM program and cooperating on system development and production to meet Germany's Taktisches Luft Verteidigungs System (TLVS) requirement. In February 1994, the United States officially invited Germany to participate in the system's development and production. Because of Germany's desire to make the program a U.S.-European cooperative initiative, the program was subsequently expanded to include France and then Italy. Representatives of the four countries signed a multilateral statement of intent in February 1995 to collaborate in the development of a system capable of meeting the requirements of all four countries. The effort became known as the MEADS program.

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