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MISSILE DEFENSE
US to activate missile shield over southern Europe: report
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) July 31, 2010


Canada intercepted two Russian bombers near Arctic: ministry
Montreal (AFP) July 30, 2010 - Canadian military jets intercepted two Russian bombers this week as they approached Canadian airspace near the Arctic, the defense ministry said Friday. "The two Russian TU-95 bombers have returned to their base without incident," Canadian Defense Ministry spokesman Jay Paxton told AFP of the situation that occurred Wednesday. "They were found 250 nautical miles (463 kilometers) from Goose Bay in the province of Newfoundland, in waters in a Canadian buffer zone," he said.

Since 2007, a number of Russian planes have been intercepted each year by Canadian jets, according to Paxton. Canadian claim over its waters extends 200 nautical miles from shore, although Canada has previously claimed up to 300 nautical miles from land into international waters. Russian officials, however, denied any confrontation took place.

"The Russian flights were in international air space," insisted Sergei Khudyov, a spokesman at the Russian embassy in Ottawa, in a statement to the Toronto Star newspaper. "Nothing happened. The Canadian military are well aware of the flights," he added. Claims over the hemisphere's far north has seen Arctic nations increasingly on edge about their territory, with a global race on for vast oil and gas reserves believed to be hidden beneath the seabed. Each of the five Arctic nations claim overlapping parts of the region estimated to hold 90 billion untapped barrels of oil.

Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States pledged in 2008 to try to avoid territorial conflicts and balance economic opportunities with conservation of this fragile ecosystem. But a Canadian study has found a significant build-up of military assets in the far north. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that any coastal state can claim undersea territory 200 nautical miles from their shoreline and exploit the natural resources within that zone. Nations can also extend that limit to up to 350 nautical miles from their coast if they can provide scientific proof that the undersea continental plate is a natural extension of their territory.

The United States is close to activating a missile shield over southern Europe as part of its effort to shore up regional defenses in the face of a missile threat from Iran, The Washington Post reported late Saturday.

Citing unnamed Pentagon officials, the newspaper said the US Defense Department is nearing a deal to establish a key radar ground station probably in Turkey or Bulgaria.

Installation of the high-powered X-band radar would enable the first phase of the shield to become operational next year, the report said.

In September 2009, US President Barack Obama scrapped a missile shield project, which had been pushed by his predecessor George W. Bush and would have seen a powerful radar installed in the Czech Republic and 10 long-range ballistic interceptor missiles in Poland by 2013.

The shield plan had enraged Russia, which called it a security menace on its doorstep, although Washington insisted the aim was to ward off a potential long-range missile threat from Iran.

But according to The Post, a plan to protect southern Europe from missiles is still being implemented.

The US military is also working with Israel and allies in the Persian Gulf to build and upgrade their missile defense capabilities, the report said.

The United States installed a radar ground station in Israel in 2008 and is looking to place another in an Arab country in the gulf region, the paper said.

The radars would provide a critical early warning of any launches from Iran, according to The Post.

The missile defenses in Europe, Israel and the Gulf are technically separate and in different stages of development, the paper said.

But they are all designed to plug into command-and-control systems operated by, or with, the US military, The Post pointed out.

The Israeli radar is operated by US personnel, and it is already providing information to US Navy ships in the Mediterranean, the paper noted.

earlier related report
Czech Republic ready to host US missile warning centre: PM
Prague (AFP) July 30, 2010 - The Czech Republic is prepared to host a missile warning centre funded by the United States and incorporated into a NATO missile defence system, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said Friday.

"There is a plan to grant two million dollars in 2011-12 for the creation of a central shared early warning system, in the budget debate in the two houses of (US) Congress," he said during a press briefing in Prague.

Necas said at issue was a "technical-administrative" centre aimed at "detecting the launch of missiles against the territory of the Atlantic alliance."

"Right now, it is a bilateral issue, but it is assumed that this system will be part of NATO's missile defence," the head of the Czech government said.

Necas said it is likely that the centre could be located "in Prague or surrounding areas", but that "details will be negotiated later."

A team of Czech experts at the centre would check data coming from different satellites, Necas said.

Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra told the Czech CTK news agency the system would be passive without any capacity for missile launch.

In Bratislava, Slovakia's Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said Friday that his country was also ready to participate in the project.

"If this project ... in which the Czech Republic should be included, leads to greater security, we will say 'yes' unequivocally," he said during a news conference.

In September 2009 US President Barack Obama scrapped a missile shield project, which had been pushed by his predecessor George W. Bush and would have seen a powerful radar installed in the Czech Republic and 10 long-range ballistic interceptor missiles in Poland by 2013.

Surveys showed some 70 percent of Czechs had disapproved of the plan.

The shield plan had enraged Russia, which called it a security menace on its doorstep, although Washington insisted the aim was to ward off a potential long-range missile threat from Iran.

"No to bases", an alliance that had protested the original missile shield, on Friday in Prague said it was also opposed to the new project.

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Related Links
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com






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