US Multi-Billion Dollar European Missile Shield Full of Holes – Reports | World Defense

US Multi-Billion Dollar European Missile Shield Full of Holes – Reports

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US Multi-Billion Dollar European Missile Shield Full of Holes – Reports
07.07.2019

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Earlier, NATO military officials said they were examining the possibility of upgrading the existing missile defence shield assets in Eastern Europe to intercept Russian ballistic and cruise missiles, despite previous assurances that these installations were aimed at 'rogue states' such as North Korea and Iran.

The US' Aegis Ashore missile defence network in Eastern Europe is only partially operational thanks to repeated delays, cancellations and failures of interceptor missile testing and problems with contractors in Poland, a new report by the Government Accountability Office has concluded.

According to the GAO, in 2018, only seven of eleven planned flight tests were carried out. "Moreover," the report said, "construction contractor performance issues will result in the Aegis Ashore Missile Defence System Complex – Poland not being delivered until at least 18 months after the planned December 2018 date."

In the case of the Poland site, the report said officials have faced repeated problems with construction contractors despite multiple efforts to fix the issues, including the deployment of key personnel to the site, adding a second shift and withholding some award fees to the contractors due to the delays.

"Despite these efforts, [the Missile Defence Agency] has found the contractor's performance is still particularly poor in the areas of construction management, identification, procurement, timely delivery of important materials, and timely hiring of staff with appropriate skills," the report noted.

Moreover, the report said, the agency has had to negotiate with the Polish government to allow the Aegis site's powerful radar systems to take over a range of radio frequencies previously reserved for commercial use.

In Romania, the Missile Defence Agency was said to still be tinkering with various on the Aegis Ashore site, including malfunctioning cooling systems, three years after the site was declared operational.

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On Friday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg met with Russian officials and assured them that the Eastern European missile defence system was "directed against threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area" and "not…against Russia." However, the same day, several current and former US and NATO officials told the New York Times that the US Missile Defence Agency had already carried out preliminary studies on how to upgrade the Aegis Ashore systems to intercept modern Russian ballistic and cruise missiles amid tensions over the fate of the INF.

Washington moved to scrap the INF Treaty in February, with the arms agreement, signed by the Soviet Union and the United Sates in 1987, banning the development, deployment and testing of ground-based missiles in the 500-5,500 km range, and serving as a keystone to European security for over 30 years. Moscow announced that it would walk away from the treaty if the US doesn't reverse course by next month.

 
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