Gen. O’Reilly also stated that Hezbollah’s short-range rockets and missiles, used in last year’s fighting in Lebanon, were a threat to Israeli forces and that more than 4,500 were fired.
“They had small ball bearings, about 300, in their warhead, and they were very effective at shutting down a lot of the maneuvering capability of the Israeli army and also shutting down over 70 percent of the commerce in northern Israel during that period of time,” he said. “And that was significant from both non-state actors and other countries that have committed to using rockets as terror weapons.”
Asked whether the Pentagon can counter China’s anti-satellite weapon, which was tested recently, Gen. O’Reilly said countering space weapons currently is not a mission for the Missile Defense Agency but could be done.
“We have tremendous kinematic capability with our missiles; we have the sensors and the battle management, so that work would be straightforward if we were … given that guidance and mandate to do,” he said.
The Pentagon also is developing a “multiple kill vehicle” that will greatly boost the power of current interceptors by adding more non-explosive warheads that can hit 10 or more enemy warheads from a single booster, he said.
The current missile interceptors deployed at Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California can protect the United States from North Korean missiles and afford “partial protection” from Middle Eastern missiles. Upgraded defenses will provide full defense from both North Korean and Middle Eastern missiles, Gen. O’Reilly said.
By 2011, the Pentagon plans to have up to 44 interceptors deployed in the United States and the first 10 interceptors in Europe; a large radar in Europe; 18 Aegis missile defense ships; 48 ground-based THAAD interceptors; two new surveillance and tracking satellites; and a battle management and integrated global fire system for the Middle East and Southwest Asian missile threats.