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Dud Missile’s Cost Overrun: $3.4 Billion to $16.5 Billion

Written by Gary North on May 23, 2012

Back in 1995, the Pentagon proposed a new missile to defend American air space. The USSR had gone out of business on December 31, 1991, but a new enemy threatened America.

So secret was this threat that the Pentagon refused to mention it by name. But it was there. Lurking. Planning.

The new missile system was called MEADS. It still is: Medium Extended Air Defense System. “Medium extended.” I wonder what that means.

The system was going to cost $3.4 billion to deploy. It has cost $16.5 billion so far. It has yet to be deployed.

It will get another $250 million this year. That was pretty good for a system that Congress voted to kill last year. Think of what it would have cost if Congress had not voted to kill it.

Congress neglected to say when it would be killed. Soon. Real soon. Any time now.

But not in 2013. The Pentagon wants another $400 million.

It was designed either to supplement or replace the Patriot missile, designed in the late 1970s, which was not designed to stop the USSR’s nuclear missiles. There never was a defense system against those missiles, which still exist, even though the USSR doesn’t. The Patriot missiles are still deployed.

The House Armed Services Committee has rejected additional funding for the program. This gained objections from the White House. Killing a dud missile program after 17 years is not change the White House believes in.

You see, Europe needs this system. Germany and Italy want it. Desperately.

Pentagon officials have said a key reason for keeping the program going is help project partners Germany and Italy, providing “a meaningful capability” for them and “a possible future option for the U.S.” Since the project began in 1995, the U.S. has contributed 58 percent of the funds, while Germany provided 25 percent and Italy 17 percent. The venture is led by Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with a German firm, LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme, and the international MBDA-Systems Inc.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon did not return a request for comment, but Frank Kendall, the acting under secretary for acquisition, defended the costs at a March hearing as “not just a contract” but rather “an agreement with two of our … closest international partners.” The White House statement said cancelling it “would be perceived…as breaking our commitment…and could harm our relationship with our allies on a much broader basis.” It also could inhibit the harvesting of technology from the program to use elsewhere, the statement said.

American taxpayers would not want to see us leave Italy and Germany to the mercy of whoever the secret aggressor is.

American taxpayers would demand that this dud missile be deployed just as soon as it actually works. A mere 17 years is not too long to wait.

A request for comment from Lockheed, a main MEADS contractor, was not returned. But their homepage contains a number of press releases defending the project, including an editorial from retired Maj. Gen. James Cravens, a former Commandant of the Air Defense Artillery School hired by Lockheed in 2004. He denies a cost overrun and scoffs at the idea that Patriot systems, produced by both Lockheed and rival Raytheon Corporation, are enough to protect troops.

“Today’s threats have outgrown the Patriot missile-defense system — just ask a soldier,” writes Cravens, who says upgrading the Patriot is a bad investment “because of its Cold War architecture and technology limitations.” (There has been speculation that technology developed for the MEADS project could be used to upgrade the Patriot.)

Continue Reading on www.iwatchnews.org

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19 thoughts on “Dud Missile’s Cost Overrun: $3.4 Billion to $16.5 Billion

  1. Gene Poole says:

    Look. Everybody knows that the only jobs that haven't been relocated overseas are defense jobs. Everybody knows the only reason we keep spending 760 billion a year (and increasing every year) on defense equipment that's not suited to defending against any existing threat is to keep those last jobs in America. Cut all the waste – like 450$ hammers and 640$ toilet seats (look 'em up) – and you'll bring what's left of the US economy down. So stop all your snide criticisms and stand up for your country's economy!

  2. Wildman says:

    We have the best laser system in the world mounted on a 747 which reaches out 250 miles and can bring aircraft. or missels down. It is ready to deploy, built by Boeing. We should build a fleet of these. They re nobile, A defense screen could be put up usingthese lasers within hours. Anywhere in the world. Yet we re not building this defensive wepon, why?

  3. ProundPatriotToo says:

    The old, daily, D.C. toilet money flush. Yeppers!

  4. Where is former Sec of Def Casper (Cap the Knife) when we need him. He was KNOWN for is cutting programs. I remember when he "killed" the Division Air Defense Gun (Divad). A GD piece of junk. An anti aircraft gun built on an M48 tank chassis body while the then current tank was the M60. Dud!!!!!! ADA has to be able to leap frog so that means the Gun has to move FASTER than the tank.

    During testing we were told, no joke, no lies, what time, altitude, heading, and airspeed to fly so they could engage targets. Most of the time we observed the Gun pointing 180 degrees from where we were….we were laughing our behinds off.

    Like I said where is Casper when you need him?

  5. wnettles says:

    One, just one, EMP nuke can take out an entire continent with just one high altitude detonation. There will be no "second chances" to shoot down such a missile. You have to have a robust, redundant, extreme confidence system in order to accomplish this goal. Anything less is total failure.

  6. wnettles says:

    I do not know if MEADS would fill the bill for protecting Europe, or, anywhere else. I do not have the actual data on MEADS. I do know, however, that unless we greatly accelerate our system build and test rate, we will be the victim in the next great confrontation that is awaiting this nation. If we fail next time, we will not get a second chance. It will be the END OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and much of the north American continent.

  7. wnettles says:

    The Airborne Laser is a valuable component of the system. So is THAAD. We MUST be able to detect, intercept, and destroy any enemy missile within the first 2 minutes of flight to be effective. This level of accuracy and precision is highly dependent upon a multilayered, redundant, and robust accredited system. Such systems are not cheap. They require many years of planning, testing, and integration to work. They require a long term commitment to the survival of our nation and it's population. Politics cannot play a role in this kind of system.

  8. Gene Poole says:

    How Much Does Washington Spend on "Defense"?: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175545/tomgram%3A

  9. Gene Poole says:

    >>Politics cannot play a role in this kind of system.

    Don't worry. No politician, starting with the President, is going to m*ss with the Defense establishment. All the congresspersons are on the dole and/or have defense installations in their districts. As for the President, he knows what happened to Kennedy.

  10. Sal Ortolano says:

    Trouble is, by the time you get such a system to where it *might* even work, you're enemy disappears. Then you have to invent one. And that's where politics play's a role.

  11. Gene Poole says:

    Your right. The threat from Andorra and it's ally San Marino can not be overestimated. LOL

  12. RevWMcCall says:

    Not a single one of these systems has ever proved it could actually work. And building them provokes others to build them – keeping them in power and draining their people's wealth, as is the case in the US. Case in point: The current Cold War II. We saw it coming in the 60s, but we dodged it. So what do we do? Start the whole thing over again. Will we get lucky again?

    By the way, when that entire continent gets "taken out", what happens on the next closest continent? Business as usual? Backslaps and high fives?

  13. jim28threg. says:

    It is no surprise now that GOD has turned HIS back on America. What an Fn disgrace our government is they should all -past included totally and completely eliminated from this soil and lose their life if they do not leave or try to come back , and send these thieving manufactureing C E Os with them. These people are disgusting.

  14. wnettles says:

    I suggest that do a little more research into the statements that you have just made. Might I suggest : http://empcommission.org/docs/A2473-EMP_Commissio

    This is the report of the independent Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from
    Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. This study was undertaken by a non-partisan panel of experts in the field of electromagnetic and nuclear weapons. I will have to defer to their higher level of knowledge of these subjects that that of myself in this discussion. I suggest that you completely read and understand this publication before your next post, in order that our conversation be mutually beneficial.

  15. wnettles says:

    I am terribly regretful, but, your reference to "…Andorra and it's ally San Marino…" is completely without a frame of reference. I just don't know what you are referring to. Glad that you appear to amuse yourself, though……

  16. wnettles says:

    I don't think that the enemies of the United States are going to "disappear" any time soon. I had rather have the ability to defend our nation from a nuclear EMP apocalypse and not have to use it, rather than not have one and loose everything. We won't be getting a second chance on this one………

  17. wnettles says:

    It is my understanding that God helps those that put forth an effort to help themselves, so, we should get our act in gear with regard to a national missile defense program. It is the fool that expects God to do all of his work for him. We should not be the fool.

  18. wnettles says:

    On January 10, 2010, the ALTB successfully engaged an instrumented rocket at the lethal demonstration range. This test was the first time the HEL performance data was collected at the target missile.
    On February 3, 2010, the ALTB successfully engaged and destroyed a boosting solid-fueled Terrier Black Brant (TBB) rocket.
    On February 11, 2010, the ALTB successfully engaged and destroyed a boosting liquid-fueled Foreign Military Acquisition (FMA) missile. On the same flight, it successfully engaged a boosting TBB rocket meeting all test objectives without negating the rocket.
    On May 3, 2010, the ALTB successfully engaged an instrumented rocket at twice the range of the first lethal engagement. The results of this experiment verified ALTB’s ability to destroy an FMA at twice the first lethal demonstration range.