WASHINGTON, March 24, 2009 -- The U.S. government can get the most from valuable missile defense dollars by focusing on early intercept of hostile ballistic missiles through mobile and flexible defenses, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) said Tuesday.
"A mobile, early intercept system stands to make the existing layer of defense much stronger while also being more affordable for taxpayers in the long run," said Larry Dodgen, who is responsible for coordinating the company's missile defense strategies as vice president of Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector.
He was commander of the U.S. Army's Space and Missile Defense Command / U.S. Army Forces Strategic Command before joining the company two years ago. His comments came during a media briefing Tuesday morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
"The most value for the dollar clearly lies in shooting down ballistic missiles as early as possible after they're launched, when they are most vulnerable and before they separate into numerous, hard-to-track objects," Dodgen said. "To do that, our nation needs defenses that can deploy quickly and engage early. This will be cost-effective, because more shooters and sensors are needed to destroy a missile during its latter stages of flight."
Northrop Grumman is prime contractor for two U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) systems that have the strategic mobility and flexibility needed to more affordably enhance current defenses. They are:
* Kinetic Energy Interceptors, a mobile, early engagement weapon system for vital regional defense on-demand to protect the homeland, allies and deployed forces overseas; and the * Space Tracking and Surveillance System, MDA's space-based sensing element, which will be the first system capable of providing worldwide coverage, tracking missiles through all phases of flight.
"This is an opportune time to reassess the path forward and our overall missile defense strategy," Dodgen said. "Do we content ourselves with defenses primarily against two countries -- North Korea and Iran -- or do we shift to mobile capabilities that could strengthen existing defenses and at the same time prepare the country for emerging and more complex threats?"
Dodgen contended that standing still in missile defense is falling behind because countries hostile to the U.S. are making rapid advances in ballistic missile and nuclear weapons technologies.
"MDA has a portfolio of future programs with the capabilities needed to move forward. KEI and STSS are global for addressing shifting threats; mobile for responding from anywhere; layered for multiple shots at a target; and more affordable than maintaining fixed or ground-based missiles," he said.
More information about KEI and STSS is available online at www.northropgrumman.com/missiledefense
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Bob Bishop Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems 310.812.5227 Cell: 310.251.0261 firstname.lastname@example.org