#8 - JRL 7016
January 13, 2003
LET'S BUILD MISSILES TOGETHER
Failures of the anti-ballistic missile defense system force the United States to come to Russia for help
Author: Nikolai Poroskov
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
WASHINGTON FINALLY ADMITS THAT IT NEEDS RUSSIA'S HELP IN CONSTRUCTION OF THE NATIONAL ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM.
RUSSIA PASSES DRAFT ACCORD ON ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEMS TO USA IN RESPONSE TO AMERICAN OVERTURES ABOUT COOPERATION IN THIS SPHERE
Some new developments are reported in the project of the century, construction of the national anti-ballistic missile defense system by the United States. Russia passed on to the United States a draft new political accord on anti-ballistic missile defense systems late last week. All attempts to find out at least something about the document failed. It is only known that Moscow did not mean any new restrictive agreements like the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty.
According to a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, the document is expected to "reinforce strategic stability." If we forget about the diplomatic finesse, it looks like a reaction to the statement US Ambassador Alexander Vershbow made a few days earlier. "The matter concerns a threat endangering both countries. It is therefore in our interests to cooperate in construction of anti- ballistic missile defense for protection of the peoples of Russia and the United States," the diplomat said.
The Americans are just at the beginning of their work on an early warning system and its technologies. They do not know yet what they are going to do tomorrow, meaning that there are a lot of possible scenarios of joint work with Russia on the future anti-ballistic missile defense framework. Vershbow even listed potential spheres of cooperation: a missile attack early warning system, tracking radars, intercept systems, and killer missiles themselves.
In the last several months, Russia made numerous advances to the United States with specific suggestions in the sphere of anti- ballistic missile defense. This is the first time the Kremlin is getting a response. It seems that it took Washington that long to decide whether cooperation was worth it. Skeptical Russian military specialists ascribe the response of the pragmatic Americans to their failures in construction of the anti-ballistic missile defense system.
The United States ran five killer missile tests already and only one of them was a success. There are doubts about that one, however, because unofficial information leaked out to the media in the wake of the experiment, implying that the killer missile had intercepted the target only because the latter was equipped with a special radio wave emitter. Russian army intelligence, or rather its space component, was blamed for the leak.
It seems that the United States is not out of the woods yet. On January 9 the American military agency in charge of anti-ballistic missile systems announced cancellation of two space intercept tests scheduled for spring and summer. The tests will begin in autumn, when Boeing Co. has built a new killer device instead of the Minuteman. The assumption that problems with killer missiles continue is supported by the fact that Boeing Co. signed a contract with Lockheed Martin first and dropped it afterwards in favor of Orbital Sciences. Russian specialists do not think that the United States will be able to deploy ten killer missiles in 2004 as scheduled.
George W. Bush has promises to keep, and some Russian analysts do not rule out the possibility therefore, that this is why the United States finally turned to Russia which, as Washington itself admits, possesses advanced technologies. Antiaircraft complexes S-300 and S- 400, for example, may be modified into killer missiles. Some skeptics claim that this is just America's way of trying to lay its hands (legitimately) on Russian know-how. A source at the Defense Enterprises Assistance League says that the Russian military- industrial complex has come up with lots of new toys over the last several years.
It will be interesting in this respect to analyze the position of Japan, the country the United States approached with the suggestion of joint construction of an anti-ballistic missile defense system of a theater of operations. Head of the Japan defense agency announced that protection of one's territory was what counted in a situation like that. He emphasized that "The question is still not settled" and that "Japan's position will be cautious." Those who know what they are talking about urge Russia to be cautious too.