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Armed Services Panel Chairman Vows To Boost BMD

PAC-3 missiles (pictured) were first used in the 1991 Gulf War and cost $3.2 million each.
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Jul 12, 2006
The chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee vowed Tuesday to try to accelerate U.S. missile defense capabilities. However, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said he had no specific dollar amount in mind, nor did he know where the money might be best used, the Navy Times reported.

"We have limited capability right now," Hunter said. "Not that we have a perfect missile defense system today, but at least we have something ... in my view, it is better to have something than nothing."

Hunter suggested there is time to alter the 2007 defense authorization bill -- now pending before a House-Senate conference committee -- to make changes in funding for missile defense.

Hunter said the cost, whatever it might be, would not necessarily require cutting other defense programs. He believes missile defense is such a high priority that the American people would support giving the Pentagon more money for that program.

"One thing we don't know is the future," Hunter told at a news conference. "The American people are looking to their nation to defend them."

"We are going to have a missile that comes into the United States that is not a test missile and will not fail," he said, according to the Navy Times report.

Patriots Moved Into Okinawa

The Patriot batteries will defend U.S. bases on Okinawa against possible North Korean missile attack, the report said.

PAC-3 missiles cost $3.2 million each and are the result of two decades of development. First used during the 1991 Gulf War, the current PAC-3 version shot down two Iraqi missiles in 2003. During the 2003 operation, 22 Patriot missiles were fired. Two of these took down two coalition aircraft. Electronic and software problems caused the PAC-3's Identify Friend or Foe systems to fail. However, this is less of a problem with incoming missiles, as they are rarely friendly, StrategyPage.com said. Chinese war plans are believed to include ballistic missile attacks as well, and one of the targets is said to be Okinawa, the report said.

StrategyPage.com said it was uncertain if the Patriot electronics and software had been developed to the point where they could shoot down longer range missiles like the ones North Korea, or China, might fire at Okinawa.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com

US Missile Defence Experts To Inspect Czech Sites For Base
Prague (AFP) Jul 12, 2006
US experts will next week tour possible Czech sites for an anti-missile base, the Czech ministry of defence announced on Wednesday. The United States is in the final stages of selecting a Central European surface-to-air missile base which would form part of a network designed to protect it and other NATO countries from hostile missile attack.







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