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US experts set to inspect planned Czech radar site

by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) Aug 13, 2007
Some 30 American experts set out on Monday to inspect a site in the Czech Republic where there are plans to install a radar as part of a proposed US missile shield, an official said.

"The main goal of the four-day mission is to inspect geological conditions as well as the infrastructure and transport network," in Brdy, 65 kilometres (104 miles) southwest of Prague, Czech defence ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek said.

The team is led by Julian Savage from the US Missile Defence Agency (MDA).

A wooded hill was chosen by Czech military based on technical, security and ecological criteria, two kilometres (3.2 miles) from the nearest villages.

A number of garrisons still dot the area -- remnants of the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s -- and have been earmarked as possible sites to house the radar station.

The radar station may be paired with a planned silo launcher of 10-missile interceptors in Poland as part of an extended defence shield against airborne attacks.

Washington says the programme will improve protection against bellicose "rogue" states such as Iran, but the move has rankled Russia, which recently repeated its demand that Washington put the project on hold.

Russia says the plan threatens its security and has suggested that the United States and NATO use the Gabala radar station in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan instead of having a shield in central Europe.

Some 65 percent of Czechs oppose the project, according to the latest poll conducted by government instiute CVVM.

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Putin visits new radar station near Baltics
Saint Petersburg (AFP) Aug 11, 2007
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday asked the country's defence chiefs to work to modernise the nation's armed forces, during a visit to a new radar station near Saint Petersburg.

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