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US To Develop Advanced Interceptor For European Missile Defense

The U.S. Defense Department has begun concept development of a more advanced interceptor for deployment in Phase 4 within 2020 that will enhance the European Missile Defense system's ability to counter medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and potential future ICBM threats from the Middle East.

This was revealed by Frank A. Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification & Compliance, while addressing the Middle East Missile & Air Defense Symposium in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

He said through the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), the U.S. would deploy increasingly capable BMD assets to defend European population and territory against a ballistic missile threat from outside the Euro-Atlantic area that was increasing both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Rose reiterated that Washington could not accept Russia's demand to issue a legal guarantee with a set of "military-technical criteria" that could, in effect, "create limitations on our ability to develop and deploy future missile defense systems." He made it clear that "we certainly cannot accept limitations on our ability to defend ourselves, our allies, and our partners, including where we deploy our Aegis ships." These are multi-mission ships that are used for a variety of purposes around the world, not just for missile defense. Washington also will not accept limitations on the capabilities, and numbers of its missile defense systems.

However, he expressed willingness to agree to "a political framework including a statement that our missile defenses are not directed at Russia. In fact, this is what we have been saying all along: any statement will be politically binding and it would publicly proclaim our intent to cooperate and chart the direction for cooperation, not limitations." Rose insisted that "Our cooperation with Russia will not come at the expense of our plans to defend against regional ballistic missile threats or for the defense of the U.S. homeland."

"As our partners acquire greater missile defense capabilities, the United States will work to promote interoperability and information sharing among the GCC states," Rose told missile and air defense experts. This will allow for more efficient missile defenses and could lead to greater security cooperation in the region.

He stressed the need to "develop regional missile defense architectures that will enable us to leverage our bilateral cooperation so that nations share BMD-related information and capabilities on a multilateral basis."

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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