Iran: Missile defense shield target or not?

Iran: Missile defense shield target or not?

Iran: Missile defense shield target or not?

A US lobbyist says the early warning radar that will be deployed in Turkey is specifically designed to pinpoint missiles fired from Iran toward the US and Europe

The early warning radar system designed by United States that will be installed in Turkey is specifically designed to pinpoint missiles fired from Iran toward the U.S. and Europe, according to the chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, or MDAA, in the U.S.

“The AN/TPY-2 radar system is there only for Iran,” missile defense lobbyist Riki Ellison told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on Monday. “It will work with the missiles on U.S. ships outside of Turkey and on the new site in Romania that will be in place in 2015,” Ellison said.

Iran’s defense minister on Tuesday criticized NATO for the pending deployment of an early-warning radar system in Turkey, saying Tehran would not tolerate any aggression against its national interests, Reuters news agency reported.

The Turkish and U.S. governments said Friday that the radar system will help spot missile threats coming from outside Europe, including potentially from Iran.

Minister Ahmad Vahidi warned Turkey about the radar system, which Ankara says is not aimed at any specific country.

“The West claims the radar system [in Turkey] is not meant to confront Iranian missiles, but they should be aware that we will not tolerate any aggression against our national interests,” Vahidi was quoted by state TV as saying.

Diplomatic sources from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the Daily News on Tuesday that the radar system in Turkey would not be aimed at any specific country, including Iran.

The ministry said deploying the early-warning radar system in Turkey was part of a new NATO policy that included a new defensive concept of preventative deterrence.

Foreign Ministry sources said that within this new concept, geographically the best role for Turkey to play with minimum risk and maximum benefit would be to be one of the countries where a preventative radar system is deployed.

‘Part of Obama’s defense policy’

Ellison gave details of the radar defense system designed by the U.S. that will be installed in Turkey, saying that it will be a very highly defined radar system.

According to Ellison, the radar system in Turkey will work with the missiles on U.S. ships outside of Turkey and also on the new site in Romania that will be in place in 2015. “The system will have the capability to protect all of Turkey and Southern Europe with the missiles we have in the Mediterranean against Iranian short- and medium-range missiles,” Ellison said.

He said the system was not for Israel, adding that the area is too far north for Israel and Israel already has its own systems. “Deployment of this radar in Turkey is the last part of President Obama’s defense policy statement,” Allison said.

“In Phase 1 of Obama’s defense policy statement, until the end of this year, the radar will be deployed in Turkey with a U.S. ship in the Mediterranean right now with the SM-3 block IA missiles. There will also be a fire control solution in Germany. Those are all being deployed. So this is the last piece of the Obama’s specific plan,” Ellison said.

‘Closest point to Iran’

Allison said the location for the radar system would be selected by Turkey and the U.S., and that it would most probably be in the area closest to Iran.

“I don’t think it will be deployed on a U.S.-operated naval base such as the base in Adana for technical reasons. Because the closer it is to the Iranian border, the better it is,” Ellison said.

According to Ellison, there will be mostly U.S. civilians in charge of the radar system but very few U.S. troops around it, with Turkish soldiers in charge of protecting the area where the radar is located instead.

The information from the radar system will go directly to Ramstein Airforce Base in Germany and then it will be shared by all of NATO, Ellison said.

“That radar will be able to pick up anything that comes across Turkish airspace from anywhere. So for instance if Pakistan fires missiles in that direction, it can pick them up. It can cover anything flying over Turkish airspace,” Ellison said.

“The radar will stay as long as there is a legitimate threat from Iran,” he said. “They are there so that Iran will not have any missiles. They are now building new long-range missiles. So as long as Iran has missiles, this system will be there and defend America. If Iran gets a long-range ballistic missile, they can attack the U.S. and the radar will be protect from that. The radar will also have the first opportunity to look at them and be able to track them and give targeting information. It is mainly a tracking radar,” Ellison said.

Ellison said there was a similar radar deployed in Japan that protects the U.S. from possible North Korean long-range missiles.

 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
İPEK YEZDANİ – ipek.yezdani@hurriyet.com.tr
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News