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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Spain Could Get $260M for Hosting U.S. Aegis Antimissile Warships

Spain is expected in the next few weeks to authorize an agreement with the United States that could net it roughly $260 million for hosting four U.S. Aegis-equipped missile destroyers, the El Pais newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The bilateral agreement covers the cost of the Spanish state-owned company Navantia in maintaining the four Aegis warships while they are home ported for an initial four years in Rota in the southwestern part of Spain.

The initial two vessels, the USS Donald Cook and the USS Ross, are slated to sail to Spain in fiscal 2014. The remaining two ships -- the USS Carney and the USS Porter -- are to deploy the year after that. Approximately 1,100 U.S. troops will accompany the warships.

The Aegis ships are one element of Washington's official contribution to NATO efforts to establish a ballistic missile shield that covers all of Europe. The United States also has agreements with Romania and Poland to host land-based missile interceptors in the coming years.

Separately, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency has reduced by four interceptors a purchase agreement with Raytheon for Standard Missile 3 Block 1B missiles, the Alabama Media Group reported on Tuesday.

The military is now ordering only 20 Block 1B interceptors, saving it roughly $49 million on the Raytheon contract. However, the Pentagon is paying the defense industry giant $24 million to fix technology and manufacturing problems associated with the Standard Missile 3 system.

The Missile Defense Agency said it is maintaining the possibility of purchasing the four canceled interceptors at some point in the future.

The Block 1B interceptors are to be fielded in Romania and Poland.

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