Upgraded version of Gabala radar could be important addition to U.S missile defense system: former Assistant Secretary of Defense Philip Coyle

Upgraded version of Gabala radar could be important addition to U.S missile defense system: former Assistant Secretary of Defense Philip Coyle

U.S, Washington, Dec. 8 / Trend N.Bogdanova /

An upgraded version of the Gabala radar station, or alternatively the radar station in Armavir, could be an important addition to the overall missile defense system, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Pentagon Testing Chief and current Senior Adviser to the Center for Defense Information in Washington Philip Coyle told Trend .

He said the Congressional Budget Office laid out four options for deploying missile defense in Europe.

"In this regard it is significant that all four options examined by CBO require close partnership with Russia, as all four options involve radar stations on Russian territory or very close to Russian territory. In my view, this is a great strength of the CBO options," Coyle said.

The Gabala radar station in northwestern Azerbaijan was built in Soviet times as an important element of the Soviet missile defense system. After Azerbaijan gained independence, Russia continued to use the station.

If Iran were so suicidal as to attack Europe, the first thing Iran would do is attack the "eyes" of the system, Coyle said. 

"With a forward-based X-band radar in Azerbaijan or Armavir, as recommended by CBO, Iran would have to attack Russia.  This leads then to the obvious question - is Iran so suicidal that it would attack both Europe and Russia at the same time?" Coyle said.

He added that it is not true that the U.S. rejected to build the missile defense system in Europe. 

"This is a common misconception.  What has changed is that instead of the two-stage ground-based interceptors originally proposed for Poland, the new plan involves the use of many more sea-based and land-based versions of the Aegis SM-3 interceptors, and a different arrangement of radars," Coyle said.  

He said the Obama administration plan to offer defense to Europe under NATO and in step-by-step phases covering all of Europe.

"The Bush plan was bilateral - U.S.-Poland and U.S.-Czech Republic.  The Obama plan is under the full umbrella of NATO, although both Poland and the Czech Republic will still be involved under the wider, more distributed plan.  The Bush bilateral approach was inconsistent with the NATO charter which is designed for all nations to work together for their common defense, not one or two in bilateral arrangements.  Overall, the Obama plan is pragmatic, and provides better coverage sooner than the Bush plan would have," Coyle said.  

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