US decides to concentrate on its own ballistic missile defence instead of Europe’s (Revised and Updated)18 Mar 2013, 09:41 UTC
Aware that North Korea is much further advanced than Iran with its nuclear weapons programme (North Korea has fission-class nuclear weapons, Iran does not yet have them) and appreciating that North Korea is now verbally threatening the continental USA with nuclear war, US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, has decided to suspend construction of a ballistic missile defence over Europe to defend against Iran’s perceived ballistic missile threat, in favour of one countering North Korea’s nascent internconintental ballistic missile (ICBMs) capability.
In an announcement Chuck Hagel disclosed that this change will include the addition of 14 more interceptor missiles of the Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) system to the 26 already located in silos at Fort Greely, Alaska. A further four interceptor missiles are located at Vandenberg, Califormia. The new interceptor missiles will be placed at Fort Greely by September 2017 and will cost an extra $1 billion presumably from funds redirected from the suspended Europe-based system.
Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) system interceptor missile being emplaced in a silo at Fort Greely, Alaska. Courtesy: SMDC
For a short while there was hope in US diplomatic circles that the announcement would help relations with Russia which had long been opposed to US ...