Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



BMD Focus: Patriots for Poland

The Patriots that will be deployed in Poland will first and foremost obviously be directed to defend against the potential threat of bombardments from the Russian Iskander bases in Kaliningrad. But they also could serve to defend Poland and its Western neighbors, especially Germany, from IRBM attacks as well.
by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) Aug 27, 2008
Everyone is focusing on those anti-ICBM GBI interceptors the United States will deploy in Poland, but the 96 Patriot interceptors to be based there to protect Polish installations will play a crucial role in defending Western Europe, too.

The Polish government's decision to allow the United States to build a base to house 10 Ground-based Mid-course Interceptors in its territory infuriated Russia, which has responded with very serious threats against Poland. There has been a widespread discussion in the Russian media, as we have monitored in these columns over the past two years, that Russia may deploy its formidable solid-fuel, short-range, pinpoint-accurate Iskander quasi-ballistic missiles in its Kaliningrad oblast, or region, which juts menacingly into Poland.

The Polish government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk was not surprised by this Russian reaction. That was why, in large part, it held off from making the fateful commitment to host the GBIs for so long. But the major Russian military incursion into the former Soviet republic of Georgia earlier this month concentrated the minds of policymakers in Warsaw wonderfully, and the Polish government approved the GBI base deal.

But it came with a price: The United States had to agree to deploy almost 100 Patriot anti-ballistic missile interceptors in Poland to defend not only the GBI base but also key Polish cities and military installations.

Effectively, the agreement means the United States will deploy a phased, or two-tier, missile defense system in Poland. The Patriot PAC-3s are not designed to intercept and destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles. ICBMs fly far too high and too fast for that to be a practical proposition. But they are a first-class defense system against slower intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which fly at much lower trajectories.

The Bush administration has always denied that it is deploying the 10 GBIs in Poland to either counter or even pose a threat to the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, but that is what Russian policymakers really believe.

At first glance, the idea that only 10 GBIs could neutralize the 4,700-plus warheads of the Strategic Missile Forces, which are currently going through their most massive modernization program in more than 25 years, seems absurd. But the Russians counter that if most of their strategic missile force were destroyed in a pre-emptive first nuclear strike, then those 10 GBIs could have a disproportionately large impact on neutralizing the relatively few Russian missiles that survived to be launched in a retaliatory counterstrike.

On the other hand, Russia does maintain its fleet of nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines and bombers carrying supersonic, nuclear-armed cruise missiles that the 10 Polish based GBIs could not reach.

A key point, however, is that while the GBIs are still being deployed and their program is still developing, the Patriot system is now a relatively venerable and very reliable "mature technology." Earlier Patriot marks defended Israel and Saudi Arabia from Scud short-range ballistic missile attack during the 1991 Gulf War. Much more advanced Patriot marks have now been sold in large numbers to such countries as Israel, Japan and Taiwan, and South Korea has also emerged as a major customer.

The Patriots that will be deployed in Poland will first and foremost obviously be directed to defend against the potential threat of bombardments from the Russian Iskander bases in Kaliningrad. But they also could serve to defend Poland and its Western neighbors, especially Germany, from IRBM attacks as well.

If Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wins the U.S. presidential election, he has made clear he will push ahead with the GBI deployment and, consequently, send Poland its Patriots as well. However, key foreign policy and national security advisers to Democratic presidential standard-bearer Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois have made it clear he would be reluctant, to say the least, to push ahead with the program. And even if McCain wins, he probably will face an uphill battle to secure funding for both the GBIs and the Patriots in Poland from a Democrat-controlled 111th Congress.

The fact remains that Poland has made a commitment that will greatly strengthen its already existing claim on the United States to defend it against Russian or other threats under Article 5 of the 1949 Washington Treaty. The GBIs may prove to be a crucial line of defense to protect U.S. cities from annihilation by Iranian-fired ICBMs in the foreseeable future -- and North Korea certainly appears to be sharing its so far unsuccessful but ambitious Taepodong-2 ICBM technology with Tehran.

But it should not be forgotten that those 96 Patriot PAC-3s will be a potent new force in the arms balance in Central Europe, too.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



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



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Czech, US agree on conditions to site radar: official
Prague (AFP) Aug 26, 2008
The Czech Republic and the United States have reached agreement on the conditions to set up a controversial US anti-missile base in the country, a defence ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.







  • Walker's World: The price of Putin
  • Outside View: Playing nice with Russia
  • Russia slams West, looks to China for support
  • No signs Russia will tear up arms control treaties: US

  • Commentary: Disturbed nukes?
  • Iran general says Israel too vulnerable to attack
  • NKorea gives up negotiating with Bush administration: analysts
  • NKorea says it halts denuclearisation over row with US

  • LockMart Trident II D5 Missile Achieves 124 Successful Test Launches In A Row
  • US Army Contract Extends HELLFIRE II Missile Production
  • LockMart Receives US Army Contract For Combat-Proven ATACMS Missiles
  • US missile deal gives Poland Patriots, bolstered defence ties

  • BMD Focus: Patriots for Poland
  • Czech, US agree on conditions to site radar: official
  • Boeing wins new HEL laser deal
  • Russia Says Ready To Supply Syria With Defensive Weapons

  • The M2-F1 - An Aircraft Without Wings
  • China's Tianjin building runway for Airbus test flights: report
  • NASA evaluates new wing sensor
  • Russia And China May Co-Design New Passenger Plane

  • LockMart Demos Airspace Deconfliction Of Multiple UAVs
  • Reaper Drops Laser-Guided Bomb On Anti-Iraqi Forces
  • QinetiQ's Zephyr UAV Unofficial World Record For Longest Unmanned Flight
  • Stellar Team's SATURN Wins At The MoD Grand Challenge

  • US forces to transfer control of Anbar to Iraqis
  • Analysis: Iraq militia strategy unravels
  • Iraq, US agree no foreign troops after 2011: PM
  • Iraq-US pact puts troop pullout by 2011: negotiator

  • LM Interruption Technology Makes Debut On USS Sterett
  • Army Research On Invisibility Not Science Fiction
  • Analysis: India's air buildup -- Part Two
  • Analysis: Airborne IED gets attention

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement