Europe Eyes Ships, Sensors For PAA Missile Shield

European ships already equipped with advanced phased array radars (APAR) are likely the first foreign hardware input from the continent into the U.S.-led Phased Adaptive Approach missile defense architecture, according to Ed Miyashiro, vice president at Raytheon Missile Systems.

These ships, owned by the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, already have the MK41 launcher capable of launching the SM-3 ballistic missile interceptor. Miyashiro says this is “doable” and one of the earliest opportunities to move forward. He says the Dutch have historically led in such efforts, and there are early talks with the German government on funding. The Netherlands has four eligible ships, Germany has three and Denmark has three suitable patrol ships.

Studies are also under way for what modifications would be needed for the six Type 45 destroyers used by the U.K. Notionally, the MK41 launchers and SM-3s could be loaded in modules at the front of the ship while the existing Aster missiles would remain in place at the back, Miyashiro says.

NATO is also eyeing use of up to 10 Aegis ships owned by Spain, as well as Horizon frigates owned by Italy and France. In total, Miyashiro says about 38 ships are eligible for integration into the larger framework in the near term.

NATO is also eyeing a host of sensors, including the SMART-L, Sampson and GS1500/TLP radars on various NATO ships. Also under consideration are the European owned Aster and Patriot systems owned by European allies.

There is also talk that the U.S. and France could pool resources and team up on development of the SM-3 IIB intercontinental ballistic missile killer.

UK MoD By Amy Butler

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