GAO Briefing on Block IIB Alternatives Now Available (February 12, 2013)

The slides for the GAO briefing in the European deployment of the SM-3 Block IIB missile that has been in the news recently are now available at http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/652079.pdf.  The briefing, entitled “Standard Missile-3 Block IIB Analysis of Alternatives” makes three main points:

(1)    Romania is not a good location for defending U.S. territory (not a surprise, since that what the location in Poland is about).

(2)    Defending U.S. territory from the Poland site may require launching the interceptor during the target missile’s boost phase.  (This is perhaps the most interesting finding, given that at least publicly the MDA is maintaining that the parameters of the Block IIB are still being defined).

(3)    The North Sea is better location for defending U.S. territory than Poland.  (From a technical perspective this is not news, but the Russians will undoubtedly find it interesting as confirmation that MDA is at least analyzing this basing option, which would provide more opportunities to intercept Russian ICBMs than the Polish site.

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