Friday, December 16, 2005



"It’s not Star Wars. It’s basically the capability to defeat ballistic missiles whilst they are in the air after launch, during cruise or as they reenter the atmosphere and that defensive capability has developed enormously in the last few years. A year or so ago it was thought to be decades away. Now the United States will in fact deploy the first part of its defence shield next year. So it’s a rapidly advancing technology."

"The need in a very unpredictable world is to be able to defend ourselves, whether it’s troops on the ground or whether it’s strategic assets and what we have is the opportunity to get into this massive project at an early stage, to be able to invest in it, to learn what capabilities might be suitable for us in the future and basically to have that option, the option to be able to develop that form of defence in the future."

"We think that in the science and technology area we will make a contribution from the start. The Americans have been out here looking at our capabilities. They have been most impressed with JORN, for example, and new forms of radar and sensors that are being developed here north of Adelaide. And they will have the opportunity to promote and invest in their science through this project. This is a massive project, a huge public expenditure by the United States and it gives us the opportunity to get into the project and to play our part and to get a benefit in terms of a more secure Australia."

"We will choose the projects within the massive program that we want to invest in and obviously we will do that to the background of our successes to date, in terms of radars and sensors and the like. And we will get benefit back from that investment in terms of better capability for Australia."

"We have said the Air Warfare System will basically be a US design but the US designers are interested in Australian companies contributing complementary parts of the system. That again will be an opportunity that our companies have never had before at that level of sophistication."

Robert Hill December 5 2003

Now let's take the Tardis to December 6 2005

[extract from the Adelaide Advertiser]

Outlining other strengths of the SA defence industry, Senator Hill said the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) - consisting of two over-the-horizon radars - might be used as part of Australia's contribution to the U.S.'s so-called Star Wars missile shield.

The two over-the-horizon radars are jointly operated from the JORN Coordination Centre at RAAF Base Edinburgh by the No. 1 Radar Surveillance Unit.

Trials of the JORN last year for missile defence proved it was successful in detecting a target.

This involved detecting ballistic missiles during the "early boost phase", allowing earlier interception.

Two days later Minister Hill revealed, while announcing the placement of the AEGIS order, that unless Australia had taken this action Lockheed-Martin would have need to shut down its AEGIS production line, telling The Advertiser that

"Placing the order . . . allows the U.S. to continue manufacturing without halting its production line, bringing about greater efficiency and achieving considerable savings," he said. "The purchase will also maximise opportunity for Australian industry to provide sub-systems such as communications, electronic warfare, sonar, electro-optical sensors and other equipment."

It's good to know that, even though we don't have a final design for the ships yet, we know what we'll shoot from them.

Last Thursday the Pentagon extolled the success of it's Southern Hemispheric Missile Shield trial.

[extract from The Advertiser]

The latest test in the Pacific was designed chiefly to evaluate the performance of the interceptor missile's rocket motor system and Raytheon Co-built "exoatmospheric kill vehicle", the bit designed to smash into the target warhead and pulverise it in space, MDA said.

It also successfully tested, among other things, silo support equipment, the agency said.

Last February, a ground support arm in the silo malfunctioned because of hinge corrosion caused by what MDA later said had been "salt air fog" that entered the underground silo.

Boeing said in a statement that the interceptor will be flown against a live target in subsequent tests.

The flight test yesterday validated the system's ability to track, acquire and provide the interceptor with the data for a "hit-to-kill" intercept, Chicago-based Boeing said.

All told, the United States is spending roughly $US9 billion ($11.95 billion) a year to develop a layered missile shield, including components based at sea and in space. The shield is designed to knock out the type of ocean-leaping missile that could be tipped with a nuclear, chemical or germ warhead.

In the dramatic public competition for the winning of the AWD contract... two state governments toe-to-toe in the media, complete with Adelaide-base journo-terrorists invading Melbourne to present the case for South Australia. The Advertiser journalists were lead in the charge by Craig Bildstien, former Liberal Member for Mildura and ex press-secretary for Chris Gallus, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

I had the privelege of hearing South Australian Premier Mike Rann announcing the AWD cpmtract being awarded to Adelaide, telling everyone how when his office received the news "We all shook hands and said "mission accomplished' ". The implication to the South Australian public was that it was the State's Labour Government that had won the deal. Hill didn't have much to say at the time.

Nowadays the relationship is a little more tense. When Senator Hill announced on Thursday that Adelaide was to receive a new 1,200 battallion. Deputy Premier Foley was caught unawares, telling Adelaide ABC's Matthew Abraham and David Bevin that the announcement, though known to be due sometime in the future (nice to know somebody in the Premier's Department has discoverd the internet) was not expected at that time.

As South Australia gears up for an election next March, the job creations Rann's Defence State are going to be loudly proclaimed as a vote-getter. The question is exactly how much of the acquisition of defence contracts is directly attributable to the Federal Liberal Government, the State Labor Government, and the State's former Liberal Government.

It obvious looking at Hill's statements, at a time when Rann had only been in office for six months, that planning for our involvement in the AEGIS program had been developing for much longer than that. In fact, it's been years since the US government requested three ships to participate in the missile shield program.

Six months ago I wrote an open letter to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, saying that,

I share your sense of having participated in a foregone conclusion. Victoria tried hard to win the warships, but as long as the plans created by the Bush Administration and relayed by multinational defence and energy corporations to and through the Australian Federal Government continue on a predetermined implementation schedule, the whims of any State's comparitively tiny political muscle will only be considered in the form of providing crumbs and scraps left over from the main meal.

Nothing that's happened since then has changed my mind. The one thing I was missing is that if i'm right, a key issue in the next South Australian election consists of an untrustworthy amount of grandstanding by an actor with a very small part.

As long as the election result doesn't affect US Foreign Policy, the Bush Regime wouldn't care who won. However, it's mystifying that the SA Liberal party, surely able to see what's going on, aren't opposing Rann's publicity campaign


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