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U.S. adopts four-phase plan for missile shield in Europe

RIA Novosti

07:44 18/09/2009 WASHINGTON, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has not fully abandoned plans to deploy elements of its global missile defense in Europe but rather adopted "a phased, adaptive approach" to their placement until 2020, the White House has said.

"This approach is based on an assessment of the Iranian missile threat, and a commitment to deploy technology that is proven, cost-effective, and adaptable to an evolving security environment," the White House said in a Fact Sheet on U.S. Missile Defense Policy released late on Thursday.

The Bush administration sought to deploy an omni-directional radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland as defense against potential strikes from Iran. Russia has consistently opposed the plans as a threat to its security and the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

The new plan, approved by President Barack Obama, "provides for the defense of U.S. deployed forces, their families, and our Allies in Europe sooner and more comprehensively than the previous program, and involves more flexible and survivable systems," the document said.

Two major developments led to the revision of the U.S. missile defense strategy in Europe: the increasing threat from Iran's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, rather than intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the significant advances in the U.S. missile defense capabilities in recent years.

"Accordingly, the Department of Defense has developed a four-phased, adaptive approach for missile defense in Europe," the White House said.

Phase One (around 2011) envisions the deployment of currently available missile defense assets, "including sea-based Aegis Weapon System, the SM-3 interceptor, and sensors such as the forward-based Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system."

During phase Two (around 2015), a more capable sea-based and land-based versions of the SM-3 interceptor and more advanced radars will be deployed.

Phases Three (around 2018) and Four (around 2020) will mainly involve the development and deployment of interceptors and radars with better capabilities against medium- and intermediate-range missiles and ICBMs.

The document said that the U.S. plans to integrate its missile defense architecture with NATO capabilities and welcomes cooperation with Russia in this area.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the Russian diplomats in Washington were informed of the revised U.S. missile defense plans shortly before the official announcement by President Obama on Thursday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised the U.S. move as "a responsible approach" toward the dialogue between Moscow and Washington.


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