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Russia Peeved by U.S. Aegis Ship in Georgia

Russia on Tuesday voiced objection to the presence of a U.S. warship equipped with ballistic missile defense technology in neighboring Georgia, saying the matter undermined the diplomatic "reset" between the two former Cold War opponents, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, June 21).

The USS Monterey docked at a Georgian port in order to take part in three-day training event with local coast guards. The Aegis-equipped naval cruiser is deployed to Europe as part of of the Obama administration's "phased adaptive approach" to European missile defense. Russia has questioned why the warship is in the Black Sea if missile attacks are feared from the Middle East, further south.

"Such maneuvers are in contradiction with the current level of Russian-American relations," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in released remarks. "We expect a more constructive approach from Washington.

The United States has routinely sent naval ships to Georgia, a friendly non-NATO state, since the former Soviet republic's summer war with Russia three years ago.

Moscow has longstanding worries that U.S. and NATO antimissile initiatives are aimed against its nuclear weapons (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, June 21).

The Obama administration's phased adaptive approach envisions over the next decade fielding increasingly advanced sea- and land-based missile interceptors around Europe. The U.S. program would be wrapped into a broader NATO effort to safeguard Europe from missile strikes.

Warships from a number of European states could be involved in the antimissile scheme, Aviation Week reported.

Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands all possess vessels with the MK41 system that can fire the Standard Missile 3 interceptor that is to form the backbone of NATO's defense against a missile attack. Research is ongoing on what types of alterations would be required to make the United Kingdom's six Type 45 destroyers suitable to field the MK41 launcher and SM-3 interceptor, said Ed Miyashiro, vice president for Raytheon Missile Systems.

NATO is studying employing as many as 10 of Spain's Aegis-armed vessels in addition to the Horizon ships operated by France and Italy. Altogether, there are roughly 38 ships that could be used in the short term in the alliance's missile defense system, according to the Raytheon official.

The United States and France are also said to be considering jointly financing and developing the next-generation Standard Missile-3 Block 2B, which is seen as having the ability to eliminate ICBMs (Amy Butler, Aviation Week, June 21).

Meanwhile, defense firm Astrium Space Transportation has announced it will submit a plan in the next few weeks to the French Defense Ministry for a demonstration test of an advanced antimissile technology that could eliminate threats in outer space, Space News reported on Tuesday.

Company Chief Executive Officer Alain Charmeau said the plan, which was not sought by the French government, would describe a technology that was premised on the company's manufacturing of ballistic missiles and missile threat detection satellites that are presently in space.

Charmeau said the total cost of the demonstration program, including Earth-based tests and a live trial with a target and an exoatmospheric kill vehicle, would be between $280 million and $420 million (Peter de Selding, Space News, June 21).

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This article provides an overview of Russia’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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