U.S. OFFERS GABALA RADAR BE A PART OF U.S. MISSILE PLANS IN EUROPE
19.09.2007 17:52 GMT+04:00
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ American technical experts spent Tuesday inspecting a
Russian radar station in Azerbaijan, but the director of the Pentagon’s
missile defense program emphatically stated that the Soviet-era early
warning system was incapable of replacing an antimissile tracking
radar proposed for the Czech Republic.
The director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Henry
Obering, pressed the Kremlin to drop its objections to American
proposals for 10 antimissile interceptors in Poland and for a radar
in the Czech Republic. In a speech here, the general urged Moscow to
link its radar in Azerbaijan to the American system in Central Europe
to assist collective security.
The visit to Azerbaijan by a high-level delegation of missile experts
was a response to a proposal from President Vladimir Putin of Russia
that the United States drop plans for the new construction in Central
Europe and to use instead the Russian radar in a system to defend
against a future Iranian threat.
"We are taking the Russian proposal seriously with respect to
cooperation," Obering said to members of the European Institute in
Washington. "So we are going to learn as much as we can about this."
But he also said that "we do not anticipate, and cannot see, that
what they are proposing can take the place for what we are proposing
for Poland and the Czech Republic." Based on current assessments of
the Russian system, it is "not capable of performing the functions"
of the American radar proposed for the Czech Republic, he said.
Specifically, the Russian radar in Azerbaijan has a broad view of the
horizon and is useful for early warning, Obering said. The American
system proposed for the Czech Republic is designed to have a quite
narrow view, but one that is very detailed and exact, as required
for tracking and targeting individual missiles.
The Russian system, he said, would be useful as a way to alert the rest
of the missile-defense system to an Iranian attack and to help focus
it, but that system cannot replace the function of the American radar.
"I do not know if that will be acceptable to the Russians," Obering
said, the IHT reports.
September 18 the U.S., Russian and Azeri experts visited the Gabala
radar base. They are expected to organize proposals to be discussed by
Russian defense minister and U.S. secretary of defense in 2+2 format.