Flooding Damages 25 Percent Of GMD Missile Shield: Group
Some Ground-based Missile Defense system interceptor silos were flooded during heavy Alaska rains last June, damaging about 25 percent of interceptor missile launch capacity that will mean a multi-million dollar repair bill, according to the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), a private watchdog group.
No interceptors were in the flooded silos, POGO stated.
Despite the harsh weather, the current inventory of silos at Fort Greeley, Alaska, “remains intact and unharmed,” according to The Boeing Co. [BA], the contractor.
Further, POGO stated that insiders say Boeing wasn’t responsible for the flooding because the military ordered the company to stop work on the silos, in case interceptors were required to knock down North Korean ballistic missiles that the rogue regime was on the verge of firing.
A torrent of more than six inches of rainfall caused the problem, Boeing said in a statement. “Boeing proudly stands behind its work in support of our nation’s missile defense shield,” the statement added. “We continue to deliver exceptional capabilities due to the hard work and dedication of our people and of our suppliers and subcontractors.”
POGO said that during the flooding incident, “a significant portion of the U.S. missile defense capability was wiped out … just as North Korea was ratcheting up its nuclear weapons program.”
Further, POGO said Boeing will receive substantial funds to fix the problem.
“Boeing, the contractor that is at least partly responsible for failing to protect the silos, will most likely still receive an estimated $38 million to repair the silos and a $100 million no-bid contract to build more silos,” POGO asserted. “Boeing would also receive a $7 million award fee added to the contract.”
Flooding occurred during a three-week period between the end of June and early July last year, according to POGO, and the flooding “damaged 25 percent of the U.S. interceptor missiles’ launch capability.”
POGO noted that the silos house interceptor missiles that would be used to attempt to intercept a missile aimed at the United States, although the flooding didn’t hit silos containing interceptors.
Insiders say that “Boeing argues that NORTHCOM, the U.S. military command responsible for defending North America, is primarily responsible because it ordered Boeing to stop working on the interceptor fields in case the missiles were needed to respond to a North Korean missile launch,” POGO stated. According to the watchdog group, “Boeing’s internal assessment shows that one of the missile fields has seven flooded interceptor silos with up to 63 feet of water in one silo and 50 feet in another.”
Fort Greely has 26 silos, and as of Feb. 7, interceptors had been installed in half of them.
While POGO sources say Boeing argues the interruption prevented them from protecting the silos from the rain, the group adds that the same sources say it is questionable “whether the silos could have handled the rainfall anyway because they are poorly designed.”