Brdy, Czech Republic
A Midcourse Radar was proposed for deployment to the Czech Republic. The United States asked the Czech government in January 2007 to begin negotiations about the proposed radar, conceivably to be built at a military base between Prague and Pilsen -- the military training area at Brdy. A status-of-forces agreement would govern up to 200 U.S. troops who would operate and secure the system. The physical locations would remain the sovereign territory of the host nation, but the United States would have operational control of the bases. All U.S. personnel would be required to abide by the laws of the host nation.
Very preliminary contacts between the Czech and US governments started in 2002, under the Social Democratic government in the Czech Republic. On February 4, 2004 a Czech government resolution provides the legal framework for bilateral technical discussions. Following this resolution, the Czech Ministry of Defense provides the U.S. Government with preliminary technical information about intended localities for the facility. More intense contacts then continued throughout 2005 when American teams of experts visited the Czech Republic and were in touch with the experts at the Czech Ministry of Defense. A US site survey teams to examine the proposed sites July 16-26, 2006. There were three military training areas in question at that time, and they were narrowing it down to one.
The first round of negotiations with the Czechs took place in May 2007, and the second in September 2007. Three reasons the Czech Republic agreed to enter negotiations over the radar: its historical ties to the United States, its recognition of the ballistic missile threat, and its desire for a U.S. and NATO presence in Central Europe.
This X-band radar would be optimized to point its narrow beam at Iranian ballistic missile threats in fl ight. This is not a surveillance radar that scans continuously through 360 degrees, but instead uses information from early warning satellites and other transportable sea- and land-based sensors (such as mobile forward-based X-band radars placed closer to ballistic missile threat locations for earlier acquisition and precise tracking) to pinpoint or "cue" its very thin beam to find and track ballistic missiles after they are launched.
The emissions of this radar would not endanger people as the beam is extremely narrow (diameter of a couple of meters at a distance of 25 km) and must be elevated from ground level to acquire missiles in flight. X-band radars are used at most airports and do not pose a health risk. The X-band radar would not operate continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The information obtained by this radar would be used to identify and distinguish the missile warhead from other missile parts (such as separated booster rockets) and potential countermeasures. Most importantly, it would be used to guide interceptor missiles to the projected trajectory of the ballistic missile warhead.
The radar proposed for deployment to the Czech Republic was currently located at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands (central Pacific Ocean) where it had been used to support missile defense tests over the past decade. Upon completion of negotiations and site preparation, it would be relocated to Europe. It is important to note that this radar has successfully operated without any harmful effects to the people in the nearby family housing area or the children in the nearby school.
Technical analysis showed that Poland and the Czech Republic are the optimal locations for fielding U.S. missile defense assets in Europe. It provides defensive coverage for the majority of Europe from longer-range ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East. And it provides redundant coverage for the US against ICBMs launched from the Middle East.
In May 2008, several Czech newspapers published articles speculating on the funding sources of "No to Bases," the leading anti-missile defense protest group. The articles centered on the fact that the Luxembourg-based ad firm Big Board donated 10 billboards valued at 100,000 CZK (approximately $5,880) for the campaign. The corporate registrar in Luxembourg does not list any shareholders. The articles tried to link Big Board to Russia by noting that the Soviet KGB used such anonymous companies to fund anti-missile groups in the 1980s during the debate over installing U.S. intermediate range missiles in Europe.
In September 2009 he Obama administration decided the radar site in the Czech Republic was no longer necessary, given the revised threat assessment and available new technology. The Obama administration had hoped to consult with the Czech government before making a decision. However, after recent media speculation about the decision, the President determined to reach a decision earlier in order to put an end to erroneous speculation. The MD policy review had come to two broad conclusions. First, the Iranian long-range missile threat to the U.S. has not advanced as substantially since 2006 as had been predicted. However, Iran had developed hundreds of short and medium-range missiles capable of reaching southern Europe. Second, new technology was available to answer the current threat, and that technology could eventually cover all of Europe.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|