Rome, 20th-21st April 1993

Official Record

Office of the Clerk of the Assembly of WEU




Tuesday, 20th April 1993


Current state of industrial studies on anti-missile systems in Europe


Command, control and cost of systems

Mr. VERDOUX (Director, Electronic Systems Division, Thomson- CSF, France). -

1. Introduction

Among the important questions raised by thinking on anti- ballistic defence, Mr. Delaye dealt with the requirement -what threat? - and how to meet it.

I, for my part, wish to talk about two topics that are the logical follow-up to what he said.

On the one hand, how should these means of defence be used and controlled?

On the other hand, is it a realistic option from an economic point of view to develop and deploy an anti-ballistic missile defence?

In tackling these two questions, I shall take as a basis the mission analysis and architecture described by Mr. Delaye. This analysis was made jointly by Aerospatiale and Thomson-CSF in the framework of studies conducted by CoSyDe.

We shall therefore consider a "proliferating" type of ballistic threat, i.e. based on basic technology, comprising missiles with a range that may reach more than 4 000 km and carrying conventional, chemical or even nuclear military payloads.

We are concerned with the defence of civil and military targets in Europe, in particular populated areas. Since shorter-range missiles (up to 1 000 km) are already widely deployed, protecting highly-exposed southern and south-eastern areas of Europe against such missiles is a more immediate need.

Similarly, account is taken of the protection of military forces that may have to operate outside our frontiers in the framework of international operations.

To meet these requirements, defence must consist of four components:

- a warning system using satellites to detect launchings and radar to determine trajectories and points of impact;

- mobile systems capable of ensuring the defence of smaller sites (the size of a town or an air base) against missiles with a range of 500 to 1 000 km;

- systems that allow vast areas to be protected (several hundred kilometres in diameter) against longer-range missiles;

- and, of course, a control and command system (C2) ensuring the integration of this defence and its insertion in the military, political and geographical environment.

2. The command and control system

The command and control system (CCS) of anti-ballistic missile defence has original features compared with known systems:

- continental or even broader geographical cover to ensure the protection of planned or allied forces deployed outside Europe. Such deployment means implies the participation of various nationalities under different authorities; interoperability requirements go far beyond usual standards;

- a dramatically reduced time-scale. The flight time of a missile is counted in minutes and the time available for deciding and implementing action in seconds. These scales show that, at one and the same time, new technical solutions will have to be implemented to assist decision-taking and, above all, the traditional concept of human operators, rules for delegation and decentralisation of decisions will have to be reanalysed.

This CCS must also be readily available since the suddenness of action by ballistic missiles allows an aggressor, in ambiguous conflict situations that may last for long periods, to take advantage of the slightest weakness he may detect; moreover, this remark raises the question of the robustness and survival capability of the command system, which may be the target of pre-emptive military, terrorist or even political action (failure of a partner playing a key role in the system).

In the framework of these general requirements, the CCS will have to ensure two types of role:

- on the one hand, integration and co-ordination of anti- ballistic defence;

- on the other hand, many complex roles of interface with political and military environments and civil protection, such interfaces probably being one of the more complex aspects of this CCS.

As soon as the threat has been detected and assessed and the aggressor identified, the political authorities will have to be informed within a very short lapse of time and have to determine the options for defence and retaliation; procedure for consultation between the various authorities involved will have to be foreseen and various options prepared in parallel: warning of the alert in threatened areas and implementing means of civil protection, preparing retaliatory military action, activating anti-missile defence, diplomatic action and guidance of intelligence. Decisions will have to be implemented instantaneously.

Where the possibility of military retaliation is concerned (e.g. air raids on missile-launching sites), two remarks should be made:

- first, their preparation requires a transfer of data and interfacing of air operations command and control systems, or even the integration of certain functions;

- then countries which have chosen a deterrent policy will have to plan for the inclusion of their nuclear weapons in their decision-taking process, which might imply a direct transfer of data to strategic command systems.

The description of functions of co-ordinating and integrating anti-ballistic defence seem more conventional.

The CCS will first have to process data from various sensors (satellites, radar) to detect the departure of enemy missiles, determine their trajectory, distinguish between military payloads to be destroyed among the many objects in flight, assess the positions of points of departure and arrival and circulate this information. To do this, it will organise the use of means of detection and ensure their co-ordination (transfer of data from one to the other).

The CCS will also have to control the use of hostile means by defence systems: assigning targets to batteries and designating them and, if necessary, controlling the effectiveness of target interception and reassignment.

However, carrying out these functions is a technical challenge in view of the response time, geographical cover and availability referred to above.

For some of the functions referred to, the CCS could be backed by existing or planned command systems such as the SCCOA in France; however, its specific developments cannot be circumvented.

Furthermore, decision-taking and command structures may have many levels operating within the framework of a multinational organisation; however, they will very probably have to retain purely national levels, too (for launching retaliatory action in particular).

The command system may be seen as a two-level structure including a "nucleus" designed, developed and exploited co- operatively for all functions linked with surveillance, detection, trajectography and sounding the alert. This "nucleus" would be extended by national structures for the implementation of means of retaliation.

The co-ordination of active means of defence should probably be carried out in the international part of the structure: the geographical deployment of means to be implemented goes far beyond the frontiers of one European country and the time factors to be respected imply unity of command and decision- taking; the Torrejon centre is already an example of cross- frontier deployment.

Such thinking is the fruit of the work of a special team and does not claim to express all the views of potential partners. Any action will be subject to prior consensus.

Other preparatory work has been carried out, some of it with our participation (AAS 29 study conducted by AGARD).

It would seem, therefore, that very high priority should be given to carrying out, as soon as possible, a co-operative study of the architecture of the control and command system that should be associated with anti-missile defence.

3. The cost

The cost of a defence system and the magnitude of the effort to be made are key parameters in assessing its interest and, a fortiori, in working out decisions.

However, well prior to these stages, there may be a stumbling block, an excuse for intellectual laziness and reliance on the efforts of others.

It has been repeated too often that there is no point in thinking about anti-missile defence because Europe could never afford it.

Too many unrealistic figures, blown up out of all proportion, have been mentioned haphazardly.

We should first forget all we have heard about the phenomenal cost announced several years ago for the American strategic defence initiative.

The SDI project aimed at worldwide defence against massive strikes by sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missiles designed and produced by countries with a high level of technology.

Today, we are concerned with regional protection against a basic threat in the form of isolated attacks.

The technical and operational facts are quite different and the cost is far less.

In the context of their studies, Aerospatiale and Thomson- CSF have made an estimate of the various components of a

European defence system. Many simplifying hypotheses have been accepted: financing and production by a single country, development over a total period of ten years, exclusion of extra cost for time-scales not being respected (delay in taking decisions, for instance), etc.

In these conditions, an operational warning and trajectography system comprising, for instance, two operational geostationary satellites and three trajectography radars is estimated at about 10 GF. However, the exploratory development of a demonstration model (which would be integrated in a satellite produced for other purposes) might be possible within the 500 to 1 000 MF bracket.

The SAMR/G (surface-to-air medium-range/ground) has already been under development since 1989 in co-operation between France and Italy (Aerospatiale, Alenia and Thomson-CSF) to come into service by the year 2000; the total cost of the programme (development and supply of forty systems) is in the region of 30 GF. To give it a capability against ballistic missiles with a range of less than 1000 km, extra financing would be required of some 5 GF. This amount would cover the development of modifications to missiles and radar (with no significant impact on the cost of production runs) and the supply of mobile distant observation radar systems to give the SAMR/G an autonomous anti-ballistic capability.

An area defence system capable of protecting areas of several hundreds of kilometres in diameter against missiles with a range of up to and including 4 000 km can be developed in Europe within eight to ten years. The cost of development is estimated at about 10 GF and the supply cost 10 to 15 GF for Europe as a whole (about 5 GF for France), plus 30 to 40% of the supply cost for protecting defence sites.

Finally, the cost of the command and control system is estimated, for France, at about 3 GF.

The existence of a consensus among European partners is no doubt a prior condition before any decisions are taken. Although such co-operation concerns entire aspects of the defence system, undue rigidity must be avoided. The boundaries of co-operation must be adapted to the matters to be covered.

A European configuration seems particularly well-adapted to the development of a warning system and a point defence system (as is already the case for the Franco-Italian SAMR/G). It may also cover a large part of the control and command system. However, it must not rule out other forms of co-operation (the area defence system, for instance). Europe might benefit from work carried out in the United States or the CIS. In such hypotheses, a first simulation leads to estimated savings of 20 to 25% from which each participant might benefit (an estimate that endeavours to take into account the sharing of development costs and extra expenditure linked with co-operation and the price of equipment).

In the event of a full programme being launched,

participation in the production of a European anti-missile defence system for a country like France might be no more than an average of 2 to 3 GF per year over a period of ten to twelve years (compared with 3 to 4 GF for stand alone development).

It should be stressed that anti-missile defence is not a monolithic structure: its various components may be developed and deployed one by one, modularly, sequentially, depending on the rate of political construction and financing capability. Such flexibility will be an extremely strong point in facilitating a rapid start with co-operation on an anti-missile defence system for Europe.