|Published: August 2017|
SAN DIEGO. In late July the Hudson Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, organized a two-day conference on countering the ballistic missile threat from North Korea. The conference was held on July 26-27, 2017 at the headquarters of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) in Poway, Calif. GA-ASI is a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions.
The conference, titled “The Role of Unmanned Platforms in Ballistic Missile Defense: From Persistent Surveillance to Boost-Phase Intercept,” brought together leading experts on ballistic missile defense and advanced aerospace systems from the United States and Japan.
Keynote addresses were given by Itsunori Onodera, who has since been appointed as Japan’s Defense Minister, and Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and Representative, California, 52nd District.
Other speakers included Vice Admiral Robert Thomas (Ret.), former Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet; Masao Akiyama, senior vice president, IHI Inc.; Mr. Michael Del Rosso, vice president, The American Strategy Group; Dr. Leonard Caveny, former science and technology director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization; and Dr. Kenneth Weinstein, president and CEO Hudson Institute.
“The defense of the United States against a North Korean missile threat has to begin over the Sea of Japan,” said the conference’s organizer Dr. Arthur Herman, Hudson Institute senior fellow and Pulitzer Prize Finalist historian and policy analyst. “Japan will be one of America’s most important partners in developing a missile defense system that prevents a North Korean launch from ever reaching our shores. At the same time, armed unmanned aerial vehicles may represent the best way to stop a missile attack before it leaves North Korean airspace.”
As North Korean missile capabilities and tests are increasing, experts agree that a near-term, affordable defensive solution is needed. RPA’s and their video sensors can enable early ballistic missile tracking in boost and ascent phase, thereby increasing probability of intercept.
“Developing and delivering capabilities to protect and defend the U.S., Japan and South Korea is a critical part of the General Atomics’ mission,” said Linden P Blue, CEO of General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems.