Replacing missile defense electronics to cost $38 million

Greely components to be repaired after massive summer flood damage

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2007

ANCHORAGE - The Missile Defense Agency is looking at a $38 million repair bill to replace electronics at seven missile silos under construction at Fort Greely after the components were ruined by unprecedented flooding.

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The electrical components were damaged when underground rooms next to the missile silos flooded last summer during record rains.

The Greely area - considered just about perfect for missile silos because of its low water table and porous glacial gravel - normally receives an average of 11 inches of rain a year. Over a 10-day period last June, it received more than half that amount.

The situation was made worse when "a whole bunch of circumstances" occurred at the same time, including North Korea threatening and then eventually launching a long-range missile that failed, said Lt. Cmdr. Sean Kelly, a spokesman for the United States Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

The flooding had no impact on Greely's ability to respond because the flooded silos were under construction and did not contain missiles, Kelly said.

Rick Lehner, spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, said Greely's other silos were equipped with missiles and on alert. Fort Greely has 26 silos. Seven were under construction at the time.

According to the Missile Defense Agency, from June 16-27, the Missile Defense Complex at Greely received over six inches of rain. The rains flooded the 85-foot silos and seven prefabricated underground rooms adjoining them that contained the electronics.

The MDA said there was no mechanical or structural damage to the silos, but the electronics were damaged by water, water vapor and condensation.

Between 40 percent and 70 percent of the electronic modules in the rooms adjoining the seven silos are being replaced. Boeing, the lead contractor on the interceptor project, is overseeing replacement.

The configuration of the underground rooms has been changed to prevent water from entering in the future. Interim remote sensor water alarms also have been installed until permanent power can be installed in each silo.

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