MDA Pressing Ahead with Euro BMD

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Lt. Gen. Henry (Trey) Obering, U.S. Missile Defense Agency director, says the $85 million funding cut to his plans for radar and interceptor installations in Eastern Europe is "not as bad as it could have been.""I do believe that this is something that we can live with," Obering said during an interview with Aviation Week & Space Technology. The cut was recently approved by a House-Senate conference committee on Fiscal 2008 appropriations.The reduction could result in at least a six-month delay in plans to establish a site for interceptors in Poland and a sophisticated tracking and targeting radar in the Czech Republic.

Obering wants the interceptors in place by 2013 and the radar operating by 2011 to counter ballistic missile attacks from Iran that threaten the Middle East and most of Europe. Despite Russian opposition to the plans -- the Russian government says the system poses a threat to its security in the region -- the U.S. is moving forward. Obering maintains that the Russian radar in Gabala, Azerbaijan, will not provide the midcourse discrimination necessary to target missiles from Iran.Russia proposed the Gabala radar as an alternative to the sensor planned for the Czech Republic. MDA plans to relocate a midcourse tracking radar from the Pacific region to the site in the Czech Republic.Obering spoke with AW&ST from Kiev during one of a series of visits to explore opportunities to expand industry cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine, which provided hefty technical expertise for the Soviet ballistic missile fleet.Already, cooperation exists with Boeing on the Sea Launch program and other efforts are under way with Lockheed Martin. The Ukraine is also thought to have conducted development work for the countermeasures incorporated into Soviet and now Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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-- Christian

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