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Russian radar site doesn't fit US missile shield needs: general

by Staff Writers
Huntsville, Alabama (AFP) Aug 16, 2007
A Russian radar site in Azerbaijan is too close to Iran to serve as a replacement for a planned US missile defense site in eastern Europe, the chief of the US missile defense agency said Thursday.

Lieutenant General Henry Obering said the Russian proposal was worth pursuing but only as a complement to the radar and interceptor missiles the United States wants to put in the Czech Republic and Poland.

"It would be too close to serve as a mid-course radar," Obering told reporters, referring to the Gabala early warning radar in Azerbaijan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly proposed swapping the European site for sites in Azerbaijan at a summit in June and then followed up with an proposal for greater Russian-NATO cooperation on European missile defense.

Details of the Russian proposal have been sketchy but they have been seen variously as a bid to scuttle US missile defense plans in Europe or as an important opportunity for closer military cooperation.

"I can't judge whether they are serious or not," said Obering. "I can tell you they are engaged with us. We've had at least two sets of meetings. We have others planned leading up to the fall.

"All I can say is we are in discussions. We are trying to get into technical details about our proposals and our capabilities, but I can't judge the sincerity of it, frankly."

Obering said the Russian early warning radar in Azerbaijan could be used to acquire and track a missile out of Iran early in its trajectory.

But once a missile moved out of range of the radar, it would become increasingly difficult to pick it up again and intercept it without a more powerful targeting radar in the Czech Republic, he said.

"It's like having a car coming at you on the (highway). By the time you see it, you wouldn't be able to react to it," he said.

But he said having a combination of a US radar and a Russian radar "would be very useful in terms of how we could cooperate."

"I believe that the Russian proposals are things we certainly should pursue. And we are doing that."

"The ideal future for us would be that we have US capabilities, we have NATO capabilities that marry up to that, and we have Russian capabilities that can marry up to as well. So that we can build effective missile defenses against these countries," he said.

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Boeing To Transfer AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense Production To Alabama
St. Louis MO (SPX) Aug 16, 2007
Boeing will transfer production supporting the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program from Anaheim, Calif., to its facility in Huntsville, Ala. The move expands production capability and co-locates Aegis BMD production with similar missile defense activities. About 30 positions will transfer as the work transitions to Huntsville in segments over a period of several months and should be complete in 2008. Boeing anticipates that most of those jobs will be filled by current Boeing employees.

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