Pentagon says Patriot shield will deter strike on American allies in the Gulf
By Chris McGreal in Washington guardian.co.uk
Tension between the US and Iran heightened dramatically today with the disclosure that Barack Obama is deploying a missile shield to protect American allies in the Gulf from attack by Tehran.
The US is dispatching Patriot defensive missiles to four countries – Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait – and keeping two ships in the Gulf capable of shooting down Iranian missiles. Washington is also helping Saudi Arabia develop a force to protect its oil installations.
American officials said the move is aimed at deterring an attack by Iran and reassuring Gulf states fearful that Tehran might react to sanctions by striking at US allies in the region. Washington is also seeking to discourage Israel from a strike against Iran by demonstrating that the US is prepared to contain any threat.
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All of this was leaked to the press after the Iranian president delivered a veiled threat on Sunday. State-run Press TV quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday as saying that the nation will deliver a harsh blow to "global arrogance" on February 11.
Patriot missiles are designed to intercept enemy missiles before they reach their target. Since production began in 1980, 9,000 missiles have been delivered to countries including Germany, Greece, Taiwan and Japan.
During the first Gulf war Patriot success was 70% in Saudi Arabia and 40% in Israel. Since then the US has spent more than $10bn (£6.3bn) improving, among other aspects, the system's radar and computer compatibility for joint forces action. Once in position, the system requires a crew of only three people to operate. Each missile weighs 700kg and has a range of about 100 miles.
The US navy is in the process of upgrading all its Ticonderoga class cruisers and a number of destroyers to carry the Aegis ballistic missile defence system. It uses a surface-to-air missile that is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles above the atmosphere. It has also been tested on failing satellites as they fall to earth. Each missile is over 6m long and costs more than $9m. James Sturcke
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Sunday, January 31, 2010
US raises stakes on Iran by sending in ships and missiles
Labels: Iran, Missile Defense Agency (MDA), US DoD