European NATO States Making Strides on Antimissile Projects

Global Security Newswire Staff
April 1, 2014, 8:08 a.m.

After years of ca­jol­ing by the United States, a num­ber of European al­lies are mov­ing for­ward with new in­vest­ments in their mis­sile de­fense sys­tems.

Po­land an­nounced last month it would sig­ni­fic­antly speed up the time table for choos­ing a vendor to provide the coun­try with a mis­sile de­fense sys­tem, a so-called “Pol­ish Shield.” The move co­in­cides with rising anxi­et­ies in Warsaw about Mo­scow’s re­cent land grab in Ukraine and con­cerns that Rus­si­an ag­gres­sion could drift fur­ther west­ward.

There is a “strong pos­sib­il­ity” that Po­land could nar­row the field of bids to just two de­fense firms as early as June, said Marty Coyne, who leads air and mis­sile de­fense busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for Lock­heed Mar­tin, in an in­ter­view with In­side De­fense in late March.

Lock­heed is pitch­ing the Me­di­um Ex­ten­ded Air De­fense Sys­tem — a mo­bile bat­tle­field an­ti­mis­sile sys­tem that provides 360-de­gree cov­er­age.

Ber­lin, which has par­tially fun­ded de­vel­op­ment of the an­ti­mis­sile sys­tem, could de­cide in the com­ing months wheth­er to pur­chase units, Coyne said. The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is presently car­ry­ing out a study of its op­tions. Rome — an­oth­er source of pro­gram-de­vel­op­ment funds — also is ex­pec­ted to make a de­cision soon, he said.

“We would ex­pect a pos­it­ive de­cision to come out of Italy this spring, fol­lowed closely by Ger­many and Po­land,” the seni­or Lock­heed of­fi­cial said. “We are not over­con­fid­ent but we think we stand a good chance that all three na­tions will see the be­ne­fit of mer­ging in­to a single MEADS fol­low-on pro­gram.”

Also in the run­ning for the Pol­ish con­tract are Ray­theon, a French in­dustry team of con­sist­ing of Thales and MBDA, and the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment, In­side De­fense re­por­ted.

Mean­while, Turk­ish pro­cure­ment of­fi­cials re­portedly are weigh­ing wheth­er to scrap a con­tro­ver­sial plan to buy Chinese mis­sile in­ter­cept­ors and in­stead es­tab­lish the de­sired na­tion­al an­ti­mis­sile cap­ab­il­ity us­ing loc­al de­fense firms, De­fense News re­por­ted on Monday. Faced with strong NATO op­pos­i­tion to the Chinese plan, Ank­ara has giv­en U.S. and European de­fense firms un­til the end of April to sweeten their earli­er con­tract pro­pos­als.

What We're Following See More »
White House Grants $53 Million for Opioids
36 minutes ago

"The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday awarded 44 states, four tribes and the District of Columbia a combined $53 million in grants to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders and ultimately aimed at reducing the number of opioid-related deaths." But HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and drug czar Michael Botticelli both called on Congress to approve the $1.1 billion Obama has requested to fight the opioid crisis.

How Many Offices Does Trump Have in Battleground States?
1 hours ago

Eighty-eight, according to PBS. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has 291 offices in those same 15 states.

Wasserman Schultz Wins Her Primary
2 hours ago

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz beat back a primary challenge by law professor Tim Canova on Tuesday. The Florida Democrat and deposed former Democratic National Committee chief led 57%-42% with more than 80% of the vote counted last night. Meanwhile, fellow Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown became the fifth incumbent to lose during this election cycle. Brown, who was recently indicted for fraud, lost to former state Sen. Al Lawson.

McCain Survives in Arizona
4 hours ago

Reports of Sen. John McCain's demise were greatly exaggerated. Seeking a sixth term, the Arizona Republican handily defeated upstart Kelli Ward. The Associated Press called the race around 8:30pm local time. Ward was in no mood to be conciliatory, saying, "After refusing to debate while running a slash and burn campaign devoid of actual ideas, I hope the senator can rest comfortably with his conscience as he continues to lecture others about civility. The Republican party cannot win as a national party if we keep nominating unprincipled career politicians whose only objective is perpetual re-election." McCain now faces U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the Nov. 8 general election.

Trump Meeting with Mexican President Today
4 hours ago

Donald Trump will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto today. "Trump's meeting is at the invitation of Pena Nieto, who tweeted that he's planning to meet with other candidates as well." Few details were made public, but "Trump is scheduled to be on stage at 6 p.m. in Phoenix for a major immigration speech, so the meeting will be early in the day."