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US anti-missile shield stirs up protest

发布时间:2019-02-27 08:14:09来源:未知点击:

By Reuters and Kelly Young A Russian general has criticised a US plan to place an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, calling it a threat to Moscow – but a senior US official denied that was its purpose. “Our analysis shows that the placing of a radio locating station in the Czech Republic and anti-missile equipment in Poland is a real threat to us,” said space forces commander Lieutenat-General Vladimir Popovkin, according to Russian news agencies. US assistant secretary of state Daniel Fried told the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita that Moscow had nothing to fear. “We believe that building infrastructure of the anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic will significantly boost the defences of a united Europe,” Fried said. “I want to stress that the anti-missile system is not aimed at Russia.” The US is investing around $10 billion per year in its Missile Defence Initiative (MDI) system, which would combine long-range radar and interceptor missiles to detect and shoot down ballistic missiles carrying nuclear, bacteriological or chemical warheads. Officials in Washington DC made an offer to Warsaw and Prague last week to start detailed negotiations on hosting parts of the system. The negotiations could take months, says Fried, and Poland’s parliament would have to endorse a decision to host the missiles amid public doubts. Under the proposal, Poland could be the base for underground rocket silos housing approximately 10 interceptor missiles in total, while the Czech Republic would host a radar system to track incoming ballistic missiles. The interceptors would be designed to strike them as they cruised through space. US officials say this portion of the shield will protect it and continental Europe from missiles that could be fired from Iran or other “rogue regimes”. This point of view has some support from Baker Spring, a defence analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington DC. “My judgment is that the primary purposes of that site would be to counter intermediate to long-range missiles primarily out of the Middle East region,” Spring told New Scientist. Russia should not be too concerned, he says, as the number of missiles they have could easily overwhelm the defences planned for Poland and the Czech Republic. But Popovkin remains sceptical about the stated target. “It’s very doubtful that elements of the national US missile defence system in eastern Europe were aimed at Iranian missiles, as has been stated,” he said. Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the MIT, US, also doubts that the proposed installations would be effective against a threat from Iran. He says that by the time Iran developed intercontinental ballistic missiles that could conceivably strike the US, they would probably have long-range missiles to knock out the Eastern European facilities first. Postol thinks that this may be just a plan to involve as many countries as possible to ensure the survival of MDI. “I read it as having little or no technical merit,” Postol told New Scientist. Indeed, Postol doubts the effectiveness of ground-based interceptors in general, as the interceptors’ infrared sensors could be fooled by decoy balloons released with a warhead. Weapons Technology – Keep up with the latest innovations in our cutting edge special report. More on these topics: