Proposed defense budgetincludes $124m for PMRF

BARKING SANDS — The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $124

million for various projects at the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range

Facility.

The funds are part of the fiscal 2001 Department of Defense

Appropriations Bill and must be approved by the Senate before they become

available.

If the bill is approved, $44 million will be designated for

various programs to accelerate the development of the Navy’s Theater Ballistic

Missile Defense program, which U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye said represents higher

appropriations than in previous years.

Inouye said the money will be used

to enhance PMRF’s operations with new capabilities and funding sources to set

it apart as the preeminent training, and test and evaluation facility in the

nation.

Included in appropriations specifically earmarked for the Theater

Ballistic Missile Defense program are the following:

* $25 million to

accelerate the Navy’s Theater Air and Missile Defense programs, with $15

million for Navy airborne warning aircraft (E-2C) surveillance research, and

$10 million for cooperative engagement capability improvements. All of this

research will be conducted at PMRF.

* $11.5 million for range upgrades in

the form of new sensors for TBMD testing.

* $5 million to complete the

acquisition of optical sensors that provide for more precise measurements in

theater missile defense testing.

* $3 million for systems support for a new

program that has been installed in conjunction with the Navy’s plans to test

its TBMD programs here.

The proposed appropriation includes $3 million to

repair, operate and maintain flood control and water systems on property

adjacent to the facility.

The repairs are considered critical to base

operations.

“I am pleased that my colleagues recognize Hawai’i’s strategic

military importance, and are supportive of enhancing not only our military, but

also dual-use technological capabilities,” said Inouye.

Dual-use

capabilities are technologies being developed that have military and civilian

applications.

PMRF is the largest multi-environment training range in the

world and employs nearly 900 workers.

Next month, it will play a key role

in the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) naval exercises which bring together the

fleets of Japan, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other

countries for joint training opportunities.

Through its deep ocean, shallow

water, land, mountain top and sky resources, PMRF provides a wide variety of

environments for simulations. The base’s capabilities have also supported a

steady flow of submarines to Pearl Harbor from the West Coast.

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