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U.S. Extends NATO Interceptor Missile System Into Persian Gulf

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U.S. Extends NATO Interceptor Missile System Into Persian Gulf
Rick Rozoff

The July 17 edition of the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is establishing an interceptor missile radar station in Qatar, citing unnamed American officials.

When operational, the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance - Model 2 (AN/TPY-2), what its manufacturer Raytheon describes as "the world's most advanced mobile radar," will be based in Qatar, analysts cited by the Wall Street Journal said, because the state is host to the largest American air base in the Persian Gulf, the Al Udeid Air Base. An estimated 8,000 U.S. troops are stationed there and at another Qatari base.

The radar will be linked up with the same model X-band radars deployed in Israel in 2008 and activated in Turkey in January of this year.

The AN/TPY-2 radar deployed to Israel's Negev Desert was accompanied by 120 personnel from the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, the first long-term basing of foreign service members in the host country's history. The radar has a range of 2,900 miles/4,300 kilometers.

Its equivalent in the eastern Turkish province of Malatya is part of the NATO continental European missile shield, though staffed and operated by the Pentagon.

The three radar deployments describe a crescent to the west of Iran.

The only other AN/TPY-2 deployed is in Japan, where it was sent in 2006. The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency reports that seven AN/TPY-2s have been produced and three more are currently in production. The destinations for the six not already deployed have not been revealed.

The radar system was designed to support the U.S. Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missile system, though is now being activated to also work in conjunction with the U.S. Navy's Standard Missile-3 interceptors, both the current ship-based models and the planned land-based versions to be stationed in Romania, Poland and as yet unidentified or undisclosed locations in the next few years.

On Christmas Day last year the U.S. formalized a $3.48 billion arms agreement with the United Arab Emirates which includes selling the Persian Gulf state two Lockheed Martin-produced THAAD batteries, with 96 interceptor missiles, worth $1.96 billion; a $582.5 million contract awarded to Raytheon to produce two AN/TPY-2 radars; and a related Pentagon deal to produce two additional AN/TPY radars worth as much as $363.9 million.
 
The THAAD missiles deployed to the United Arab Emirates will be the first based outside the U.S., as the only other battery in operation (with two AN/TPY-2 radars) is at Fort Bliss, Texas. They will be integrated with, in addition to the AN/TPY-2 radars in Qatar and Israel, Patriot missile batteries in several Persian Gulf Arab states and U.S. guided missile cruisers and destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors deployed to the area as needed.

The AN/TPY-2 sent to Israel four years ago in September was employed for the Juniper Cobra 10 joint U.S.-Israeli large-scale interceptor missile exercise, unprecedented in scope and intent, which test-fired four missile defense systems and their interceptor components - Israeli-U.S. Arrow 2 and U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3, Standard Missile-3 and THAAD missiles - in the largest joint U.S.-Israeli exercise ever held and the most ambitious, and aggressive, interceptor missile drills held to date.

Juniper Cobra 10 began the month after the Barack Obama administration unveiled its Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile program, one which  substituted for the previous administration's plans for ten Ground-based Midcourse Defense missiles in Poland and a radar site in the Czech Republic, both to be bilateral arrangements, a "stronger, smarter, and swifter" - Obama's words - system that would cover all of NATO territory in Europe and be a NATO project.

At this May's summit in Chicago, NATO announced initial capability for the missile system with the establishment of a command and control center at the American air base in Ramstein, Germany, the deployment of the Standard Missile-3-equipped guided missile cruiser USS Monterey to the Mediterranean Sea and the activation of the AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey.

But the third component, the deployment of a forward-based X-band radar, had, as noted earlier, already been achieved with the missile radar installation in Israel in 2008 which was inaugurated during Juniper Cobra 10.

During the close of the missile exercises the Jerusalem Post cited Pentagon officials stating they would "be used by the US Defense Department to help formulate a new NATO missile shield for Europe." 

America's leading news agencies reported the same information during the course of the war games.

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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