London + Ballistic Missile Defence, some blue sky thinking…


War Hero
Below are 2 parts of an article from
It is about the Type 45s PAAMS and its capabilities, and it got me thinking. With a growing threat of Ballistic Missiles from Iran, Russia etc then isn’t it time to think of some sort of defence for London?

But surely such a programme would cost lots of money? But what about using the Sampson Trials barge “Longbow†(see below) when the trials are over? I know that I am not a rocket scientist but what about berthing the barge alongside HMS President in London. President could provide support and admin and as it is meant to be protecting against Ballistic Missiles the presence of tall buildings shouldn’t be a problem as the radar will be looking upwards. Alternatively, take the radar off the barge and place it on top of a hill overlooking London and it could intercept hijacked airliners etc as well. It seems that PAAMS is derived form a land based missile system anyway.

The article below says that Aster 30 is not suited for ABM, but if it can fly 100km then surely it can go straight up?

As I said, I am not a rocket scientist, and am thinking way outside of the box. But this does seem a simple and relatively very cheap answer to a problem.

What do you think?

Anti-Ballistic Missile Capability
The 1998 UK Strategic Defence Review policy on British Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) deployment was, as one commentator put it "Wait (a long time) and see". However this policy is coming under increasing criticism as the USA and most European allies start to develop or even deploy BMD systems, leaving the UK's current position looking increasingly isolated and risky, especially as regards the protection of deployed forces. In the absence of a land-based surface-to-air missile, and in view of its expeditionary strategy, adaptation of the Type 45 destroyer to BMD is becoming an obvious option. Although no decision has yet been officially taken, in May 2000 the Ministry of Defence said that the Type 45's were being built with the capacity to fire BMD interceptor missiles, a spokesman saying, "The Type 45 has been built with enough space to put in longer missiles. What would be needed for BMD is a booster motor. The UK and the French have been examining this and looking at the potential for Aster to be turned into a BMD missile."
Artist's impression of an Aster 30 missile intercepting a Scub tactical ballistic missile.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the Sampson multi-function radar, the various PAAMS components don't currently have a very great potential for the BMD task compared with systems such as the American AEGIS/Standard missile combination. However it's believed that it will be possible to give PAAMS a theatre anti-ballistic missile (ATBM) capacity in the future. Work started in May 2000 on a very limited "block 1" ATBM capability by Eurosam for France and Italy utilising the land-based equivalent of PAAMS - the "Land SAAM AD" system (formerly called "SAMP/T"). This capability should become available in 2004-5 and will be able to deal with unsophisticated threats such as Scud tactical ballistic missiles which have a range up to 600km and follow a simple ballistic trajectory.
It's hoped to follow this with a "Block 2" version capable of dealing with much more sophisticated and longer-range (1,000+ km) ballistic missiles, this will use a new "Aster 45" missile with an enlarged booster stage and if the go-ahead is given in 2002 it could enter service around 2010-2012. As of June 2005, Aster 45 has no firm timeline.
[Click on image for larger picture]Illustration from the Sunday Times of 6/5/2001 showing how a Type 45 could operate in a BMD role.
At the moment Aster Block 1 and 2 are land-only systems, but relevant parts of the "Block 2" system could be adopted by the UK (and the other partners) in to a proposed navalised Block 3 to give PAAMS on the Type 45 destroyers an ATBM capability (sometimes designated ABM-PAAMS or PABMS). This capability would approach that of the USN's Navy Area Defense (NAD) system which will enter service on AEGIS equipped cruisers and destroyers armed with the Standard SM2 Block IVA missile from 2003. NAD is a so called "Lower Tier" solution and will be able intercept ballistic targets in their final descent phase, within the lower half of the appreciable atmosphere, and provide protection to vital areas ashore such as ports, airfields and cities within range of the defending ship - up to about 100 nautical miles.
The USN was also developing an "Upper Tier" Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) capability to be based on the new Standard SM-3 missile. This Navy Theater-Wide (NTW) system was to be capable of ascent- and mid-course phase intercepts of ballistic targets outside the atmosphere, and in so doing provide much wider protection (hence 'theatre-wide') than is being considered for PAAMS. NTW was to be deployed from 2007 but technical problems and cost escalation lead to cancellation in early 2002.

PAAMS Trails
It was announced in September 2001 that British Marine Technology (BMT) had been awarded a £12m contract by UKAMS (a wholly owned subsidiary of Matra-Bae) to supply and operate a Sea Trials Platform (STP) in order to support the development and on-range testing of the UK variant of the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) for the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers. BMT were to repair, convert and commission the specialist Ministry of Defence missile trials barge LONGBOW, formerly the salvage barge 'Dynamic Servant', which was purchased by MoD in 1984 for service as the test platform for the Sea Wolf VLS missile system. On completion of those trials, in 1989 Longbow was laid up in Brixham harbour. The trials barge is 108 metres long and displaces 12,000 tonnes (8,145 tonnes gross), and has a crew of about 12 plus the trails team..
BMT Marine Procurement Ltd subcontracted the repair and conversion work to naval ship repair group Fleet Support Limited (FSL). Longbow was towed to Portsmouth in September 2003 to undergo what was then expected to be 8 month refit, FSL overhauling all the existing machinery and equipment, and upgrading the accommodation and life-saving aspects of the vessel to current Lloyd's Register Classification Standards.
Work started in earnest in April 2004 and in May 2005 FSL in Portsmouth was completing refurbishment (which proved to be far more extensive than expected) and conversion work on the Longbow. As part of the conversion, a 25-metre tall replica Type 45 foremast was added. Work then slowed considerably for a year but in September 2006 the second pre-production Sampson multifunction radar was installed on Longbow (mounted 35m above the waterline) following completion of its trials and qualification activities at BAE Systems. This will be followed by a missile silo - including Sylver vertical launch cells and all the associated equipment.
Longbow at Portsmouth in July 2005, the mast is in place but the Sampson radar still not installed.
On completion of the integration of the missile and radar systems setting to work will follow before actual missile firing trials can begin. These were originally scheduled to take place off Aberporth, commencing in mid-2005, but in 2003 the plan was changed to using a French test range near Toulon in the South of France. Its now hoped that in early 2007 Longbow will be towed to Mediterranean and moored to a large buoy on the edge of the Banc du Magaud in waters up to 200m deep. With a turntable on the top, the buoy will permit Longbow to rotate around it, thus missile testing need not be delayed by the tide and weather. Live-firing trials of the Aster 15 and the Aster 30 anti-air missiles will commence in mid-2007 and these will continue in to 2008. Upon completion of the PAAMS trials, BMT will decommission Longbow and the PAAMS equipment will be returned to MoD, some of which will then be fitted to HMS Daring or her sisters.