October 10, 2004


Missile shield research to enter development stage (Japan Times, 10/11/04)

Japan has decided to develop components for interceptor missiles with the U.S. amid pressure from Washington to move forward from joint technological research on a missile defense system to the development stage, government sources said Sunday. [...]

Japan and the U.S. agreed in a so-called two-plus-two meeting of defense and foreign ministers in September 1998 to begin joint technological research on a missile defense system.

The two nations began the research program in 1999 for a system to launch interceptors from Aegis-equipped warships. Japan has spent 15.6 billion yen up to fiscal 2003.

Meanwhile, the government decided last December to purchase from the U.S. and deploy a missile defense system due mainly to threats from North Korea.

The joint research covers four areas -- infrared sensors for identifying and tracking missiles, high-performance shields to protect interceptor warheads from air-attrition heat, second-rocket propulsion units, and kinetic warheads for destroying warheads of incoming ballistic missiles.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2004 8:34 PM

While worthwhile, missile defense shields aren't going to be the last word in warfare for long.

"Thor's Hammer", a concept for space-based kinetic energy weapons, couldn't be defended against by missile-based missile defense shields.

One would need very quick and quite powerful energy beam weapons, such as a laser or maser.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 10, 2004 11:55 PM

And just who is going to have the ability to put "smart crowbars" into high orbit? North Korea? Iran?

Hint: Probably the same folks who invented and deploy self-forging tank-killer projectiles.

Posted by: ray at October 11, 2004 1:53 AM

In terms of ability: The US, China, Japan, Russia, Israel, Canada, the EU.

In terms of desire, combined with an ability to pay for it: The US, China, possibly Japan.


You believe that missile defense systems are possible and practical now, but not that the future will bring us affordable "helper" 'bots ?

There's a big disconnect between those two positions.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 11, 2004 4:38 AM


robots are undesirable, not undoable. And, no, I don't think any defense ever works in technological terms. They're psychological impediments.

Posted by: at October 11, 2004 8:37 AM

No defenses are ever perfect. It makes a difference though, whether the incoming is a spear or an H-bomb

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 12, 2004 1:04 PM


Not comparatively.

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2004 1:29 PM

I have no idea what that means

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 13, 2004 4:43 PM