U.S. European Missile Defense

April 04, 2011

Dear Members and Friends,

MDAA has released a one-page independent overview of our nation’s current missile defense posture in Europe to the members of the 112th Untied States Congress. This educational paper leverages MDAA’s recent visit to Europe. The United States military today has over 100,000 troops and civilian support deployed to forward operating bases in Europe.

There are many security challenges to Europe one of them being missile defense. The NATO Allies recognized this growing threat at the Lisbon Summit in November, declaring that they have “decided to develop a missile defense capability to protect all NATO European populations, territory and forces, and invited Russia to cooperate with us …”

The U.S. is moving forward with phase one of the four step Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA), their contribution to European missile defense. The U.S. Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system is the foundation and primary capability of the European PAA.

Included below is the text of the paper. A formatted version of the paper can be found here.

What We Are Protecting

U.S. missile defense systems are currently defending Europe, Turkey, Israel and U.S. military forward operating bases, including more than 100,000 members of the U.S. armed forces stationed there. President Obama has promised 100 percent coverage of Europe from ballistic missiles by 2018 and a forward based missile defense system in Europe to provide some capability to defend the U.S. homeland from Iranian ICBMs by 2020. The forward basing of U.S. missile defense systems that provide early tracking and a first shot capability on long range missiles in Europe and/or Turkey would add critical capability to defend the U.S. homeland, especially the Eastern Seaboard, and all of Europe.


The Threat

Iran is the main threat to the region, not only from its own arsenal but though the proliferation of its systems to neighboring states. They have the capability to strike Israel, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and parts of Romania with the Shahab-3 and Kadair-1 ballistic missiles deployed in Tabriz. The Iranian government continues to develop, test, and deploy longer range missiles and in 2010, U.S. intelligence stated that the long-range ballistic missile threat from Iran could develop by 2015. The current instability of the Middle East and Africa, caused by the recent unrest and the NATO led coalition enforcing UN Resolution 1973, in conjunction with UAE and Qatar, has the potential to escalate into the use of missiles and rockets in the region. At least thirteen countries in the region, including Syria, Yemen, and Libya, have inventories with ballistic missile or rocket capabilities. Additionally, Israel can be threatened by missiles and rockets from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Egypt.


U.S. Capability in Europe

Our small, active capability in Europe consists of at least one Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 3.6.1 ship with a small number of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA missiles in the Mediterranean Sea and a limited inventory of mobile Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Batteries that can be deployed from Germany and Poland within days. Both of these systems are proven against the short-range Scud type missiles prolific throughout the region. To support these systems there is a command, control, battle management and communications (C2BMC) center based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. There is an AN/TPY-2 radar in Israel providing early sensor protection for Israel only. By the end of 2011 an AN/TPY-2 forward based radar will be deployed in the region that will provide early detection and tracking of Iranian missiles. This radar will provide a “launch on remote” capability for Aegis BMD Ships, providing an extended area of defense. It will also provide initial tracking and discrimination of Iranian long- and intermediate-range missiles heading to the U.S. homeland and Northern Europe.


Challenges and Concerns

  • High demand for ballistic missile defense forces for Europe
  • Not enough current capability in place, including sensors, interceptors, launchers, batteries and ships to provide adequate protection from current regional threats against Southern Europe, Turkey, Israel and the U.S. armed forces stationed there.
  • Serious budget and technical challenges to meeting European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) timelines that can be overcome with more funding and extending the timelines.
  • Deployment decision to be made of the AN/TYP-2 radar in Turkey or Europe in order to make the EPAA schedule by end of 2011. If the radar is not to be deployed in Turkey what are the consequences.
  • Inadequate number of layered missile defense systems to protect Israel and overcome multiple missile saturation.
  • Forward-based hedging strategy in Europe if Iran deploys medium-, intermediate- or long-range missiles prior to 2015 or EPAA critical timelines are delayed due to budget and technical issues.
  • Funding and technical shortfalls in providing adequate “engage on remote” and “launch on remote” sensors for Europe; such as Airborne Infrared, X-band radars and PTSS Satellites for birth to death tracking from space.
  • Testing, development and deployment timelines of the SM-3 Block IIA missiles with complete integrated sensor architecture to allow “engage on remote”.
  • C2BMC and fire control interoperability with all sensors and interceptors deployed in the European theater.
  • THAAD and Patriot Battery deployment plans for force protection of Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland, AN/TPY-2 forward based radars and forward operating bases in Europe and Turkey
  • Integration and Interoperability with NATO member lower tier missile defense assets in sensors and interceptors such as Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands
  • NATO’s willingness to share the cost and manning burden of the lower tier missile defense commitment of NATO.

·   Information sharing with Allies and Russian cooperation.

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