Symposium Talks Missile Defense In A Tight Budget

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium is underway at Huntsville's Von Braun Center.  Some 22-hundred people are already registered to check out the more than 175-exhibits and attend the numerous educational sessions. "You have an opportunity to learn new things. You see new things you never knew were underway previously. You are able to exchange technical information from a professional standpoint to make sure that everybody understands currently where we are in terms of technology, and what's in the realm of feasible going forward," says John Holly from Lockheed Martin. Holly is also the Industry Chair for the Symposium.

You will see the cutting edge missile defense technology in use right now. The many companies on hand are also showing the projects they're working on for the future. All of it, the current and the possible, under the knowledge that money is tight. "I think the overall theme would probably be doing more with less," says Debbie Fraley of Huntsville's Quantum Research. "Because of the lower dollars that we're able to spend and less funding that goes on programs, we have to get smart," Fraley Adds.

Getting smart means developing projects like a cheap rocket to deliver economical military satellites to space. Both the rocket and the satellite are projects on which Quantum Research is the prime contractor.

Quantum is a smaller Huntsville owned company, but even the big boys, like Boeing are working on saving money. Boeing's Avenger missile launcher has been around for many years, but these days it's being used to launch newer generations of defense missiles. "We're showing some examples of how you can refresh older systems with current technology to show how we can make them more applicable to the war fighter," says Boeing-Huntsville's Tony Jones.

There are new technologies in the works, but the tried-and-true isn't being thrown away.  The question is, can you have a great missile defense program with a tight budget? "It's possible to do it," says John Holly. "What you want to do is make the greatest use of those resources, those very precious resources today, to provide the greatest level of protection for our forward deployed forces, our homeland, and our allies," adds Holly.

The public is invited to attend the symposium and see just where America's missile defense is, and where it's headed. You will need identification, but the exhibits are there for you to see through the symposium's close at noon on Thursday.