A missile defense system might be nice now …

posted at 9:30 am on December 16, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Iran test-fired a new missile platform earlier today, the Sajjil-2, a solid-fuel missile capable of reaching throughout the Middle East and into Europe.  It’s exactly the kind of weapon against which the American missile shield would have defended Europe, had we continued to install our systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as the eventual longer-range missiles these tests will produce.  The Iranians used the test to demonstrate its intention to retaliate for any attempt to stop its nuclear-weapons program through military means:

Iran on Wednesday test-fired an upgraded version of its most advanced missile, which is capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe, in a new show of strength aimed at preventing any military strike against it amid the nuclear standoff with the West. …

State television broke the news in a one-sentence report accompanied by a brief clip of the test, showing the missile rising from the launch pad in a cloud of smoke.

Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi vowed that the Sajjil-2 would be a “strong deterrent” against any possible foreign attack. He said the new version can be fired more quickly and flies faster than previous ones making it harder to shoot down, though he did not give further details.

“Given its high speed,” he said, speaking on state TV, “it is impossible to destroy the missile with anti-missile systems because of its radar-evading ability.”

It may be impossible to shoot down, but not because of “radar-evading ability.”  It’s impossible because Iran’s Russian allies successfully pushed Barack Obama out of deploying the missile defense system where it would work against the Sajjil-2.  Iran doesn’t have to worry about having these shot down if they wish to threaten Europe and NATO and extort their silence while Iran completes its nuclear bomb.

The move to the exclusive use of solid fuel (the Shahab-3 used both solid and liquid fuel) is worrisome.  With the Shahab-3, we could see the fueling and the staging of the missile before its launch.  That would give us time to attack the launch site if we thought it necessary.  The Sajjil-2 can be fueled far in advance and then hidden in silos, giving us only a few minutes warning on any launch.  If the Iranians put a nuclear warhead on the Sajjil-2, defending against it will be very difficult, even if we do manage to install defensive systems where it counts.

Jammie Wearing Fool notes that Barack Obama’s self-assigned “good, solid B-plus” was predicated in part on Obama’s assertion that he had “made progress toward halting development of nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea.”  However, as Fox News analyst Michael Tobin reports, this test shows that Iran is accelerating its efforts:

This test also shows Iran ’s aggressiveness with the missile program. “The advance rate is phenomenal,” says Rubin, noting that Iran has now conducted three missile tests in 13 months. It shows just how high a priority missile technology is for the Shiite regime.  Rubin says, “They need to keep testing to prove their past successes were not spurious.”

The Iranians have succeeded in stalling the world while it pushes ever faster to both a nuclear weapon and a launch vehicle to carry it.  Any idea that we have somehow begun “halting” this push is either a lie or terminal naïveté.

Update: McKittrick at Closing Velocity noted yesterday that the US had shifted the focus of its missile-defense testing from North Korea to Iran, despite an earlier contention that the Iranian threat had “slowed.”  He called shenanigans yesterday, and it looks like he was right to do so.

Update II: McKittrick has a new post assessing this latest test.  He concludes:

Impossible to destroy? No, not really.

But intercepting the Sajjil-2 is certainly more challenging, especially with a stripped-down European missile defense architecture that focuses exclusively on short- and medium-range missiles. Yesterday’s announcement that the US is planning an unprecedented missile defense test against an Iranian ICBM could not be more timely. It will be the first time we’ve wargamed our longest-range GBI interceptor against an Iranian threat rather than our tradtional North Korean scenarios.

And again, one of the two reasons President Obama discarded long-range GBI interceptors in Europe was because of an intelligence assessment claiming the Iranians would not produce ICBMs any time soon. How’s that working out for you?

He also has video of the launch.

Update III: The Cold War strikes again!  Well, at least in my first paragraph.  That should have read “Czech Republic,” not “Czechoslovakia.”  Thanks to Steve Eggleston for the reminder.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Hey Caststeel- is that enough beef in the bun for you?

journeyintothewhirlwind on December 16, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Just more of that “smart diplomacy” from the man with ‘vast executive experience’. Have the white flags been ordered from China yet?

GarandFan on December 16, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Yesterday’s announcement that the US is planning an unprecedented missile defense test against an Iranian ICBM could not be more timely. It will be the first time we’ve wargamed our longest-range GBI interceptor against an Iranian threat rather than our tradtional North Korean scenarios.

This is all fine and dandy and certainly a lot better than nothing but does anyone know of a single case where an enemy ballistic missile,,either ICBM or IRBM, has been shot down.

MB4 on December 16, 2009 at 12:57 PM

This is all fine and dandy and certainly a lot better than nothing but does anyone know of a single case where an enemy ballistic missile,,either ICBM or IRBM, has been shot down.

MB4 on December 16, 2009 at 12:57 PM

In combat or in tests?

Cuffy Meigs on December 16, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Because ever since Bush jettisoned the ABM treaty, our intercepts have been quite frequent.

The most recent intercept was this past October 2009 by a Japanese Aegis ship. Here are all the successful intercepts since late 2007 (includes videos & analysis).

Cuffy Meigs on December 16, 2009 at 1:19 PM

don’t worry the ADULTS are in charge now!!

everything will be ok…

just glad I don’t live in NYC or DC…

right4life on December 16, 2009 at 1:29 PM

So what’s the range of this missile? They need 1500 miles to hit north Florida from Venezuela and 2000 miles to hit D.C. With our domestic missile defense system looking to the west for NoKo missiles, a strike from the southeast will be impossible to defend against. Mr. Obama is likely to get a BIG surprise before the end of his term. D.C. real estate values will likely fall, too.

lonesomecharlie on December 16, 2009 at 1:49 PM

This is probably a dumb question but would Venezuela hit us? I thought the dictators of the western hemisphere were tight with The One.

ORconservative on December 16, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Unclenched fist. Hey Lefties – How did that letter to khomenei work out?

antisocial on December 16, 2009 at 2:41 PM

journeyintothewhirlwind on December 16, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Sigh. This is the third or maybe forth test that Iran has done in the last year. Each almost identical but each “new, improved, our best yet” and other familiar advertising slogans. Understand, development takes time. Successful? Well, to what criteria? Somehow, perhaps from experience, the Israelis are not panicking. But they have two production deployed anti-missile systems. There is something about preparation that gives one confidence. Oh yes, there is that special knowledge the Israelis have; intelligence, it’s called.

The announcement made claims. And we know that Iran is always truthful. Just like some domestic politicians we know.

Sorry journey, no, nada, beef in that bun. Perhaps some catsup and a small pickle. If it helps, all these likely came from NoKo. Somehow, they don’t bother me either. Maybe I’ll begin some concern when NoKo can feed itself.

A word journey. Well two: Occam’s razor.

Apologize for not responding sooner.

Caststeel on December 16, 2009 at 5:03 PM

GarandFan on December 16, 2009 at 12:56 PM

White flags? Who is gonna fly them? Not you and not me, fer damn sure.

Target practice!! Moving target practice!!

Caststeel on December 16, 2009 at 5:09 PM

And I knew people, in fact the person ahead of the laser development for the project who stated that it was going to be the greatest defensive weapon ever created…that if they had proper funding it would basically make ICBM’s obsolete.
I have no idea who you talked to…but I would put my man, up against your man any day for inside knowledge.

Some big talk. So, where is it? They spent billions. You act like no effort was ever made.

The tech apparently wasn’t/isn’t there. They would show it off all over the place if it was there and you know this. Best deterrent ever, if it worked. Just to see it work. Best campaign tool for finance, also. Think about it.

The people I know (or knew, haven’t seen them in years) said people that didn’t understand physics said they wanted a weapon to do this and that, and to make it work. That’s what they said, and they weren’t left wingers.

Moesart on December 16, 2009 at 6:15 PM

That test was historically historic moment in history. Thanks Barrack!

Mojave Mark on December 16, 2009 at 6:40 PM

The longer we wait to deal with this Iran problem the more innocents who will die. Violent action must be taken now to save lives. We must destroy Iran nuke facilities now to save the situation. If needs be, we should destroy Iran to save the village–I mean–Iran, too.

Sherman1864 on December 16, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Jammie Wearing Fool notes that Barack Obama’s self-assigned “good, solid B-plus” was predicated in part on Obama’s assertion that he had “made progress toward halting development of nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea.” However, as Fox News analyst Michael Tobin reports, this test shows that Iran is accelerating its efforts…

Obambi’s B+ had an expiration date of one day??? Who knew!

AH_C on December 18, 2009 at 12:09 AM

Comment pages: 1 2