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US BMDS: alarming bells clinging

25.03.2016 14:47

Valeria Shatskaya

The New Year started alarming in the sphere of missile defense. On January, 28, 2016 the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) claimed success in non-intercept test. According to it, a long-range ground-based interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. An intermediate-range ballistic missile, launched from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft was used as a target. An AN/TPY-2 radar in Hawaii and the sea-based X-band radar detected the target and provided track information to the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications system.

There are two important points to be made. Firstly, this test confirmed that the USA continues to deploy its global missile defense, regardless Russian negative position. It is obvious that such US actions produce negative impact upon international security. Secondly, Washington used for its test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between the USA and Russia.

The next disturbing news in the BMD sphere was the US plan to deploy a THAAD system in South Korea. In the beginning of March 2016 the USA and South Korea started talks on its potential deployment. By offering such explanation of these plans the USA made a reference to nuclear and ballistic missiles’ testing exercised by North Korea. Russia and particularly China opposed putting elements of the US global BMD system in South Korea. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told that it would “inflict direct harm to the strategic security interests of China and Russia." He is completely right because such American plans upset the strategic balance and provoke a new arms race in the region. "The plans, which the US has been nursing together with the Republic of Korea, are in their scales above any possible threats, which may come from the DPRK, even if to consider Pyongyang's recent actions; likewise the plans from the US anti-missile defense’s another segment — the European one — cannot be compared with the threats, which the US claimed initially as reasons for making the European anti-missile defense," the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. "Thus, in both directions, we shall be proving absolute lack of reasons for plans of the kind, which threaten breaking up the global parity and the strategic stability," he continued. "We shall call our American counterparts to an honest and open discussion," he added. As a matter of fact, Washington makes Moscow and Beijing to take retaliatory measures.

Finally, the US Department of Defense intends to increase the quantity of ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely up to 40. The MDA is in hurry to meet all deadlines set for the US global BMD deployment. However a new government report casts doubts whether the Alaska-based missile defense system will be able to protect Washington from a Pyongyang ballistic attack. Cristina Chaplain, the report author from the Government Accountability Office, believes that the MDA is buying interceptors without knowing if they really work. It seems that Chaplain’s opinion reflects the general views circulated in the USA on global BMD: Washington wants to field it as soon as possible. Such haste raises the question: for what? Is America preparing for new possible military conflict with Russia and China?

The issue is rather serious, especially if someone takes into account that Pentagon named Russia as a top global threat to the USA and China was marked as the second one. At the same time no one should forget that at NATO Summit in Chicago the transatlantic Alliance has decided to make an appropriate mix of missile defense, conventional and nuclear arms.