By Sean Osborne
Not quite 6 weeks ago, between 7 and 9 June, an Israeli delegation attended a briefing given by the NATO Program Office for the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense System (ALTBMDS) Operational Users Group, led by the United States, Germany, Italy, Poland, the U.K., France, Holland and Canada.
The briefing brought the Israeli's up to speed on the current and future capabilities of the NATO ballistic missile defense system. At the same time the NATO side was briefed by Israeli Brigadier General (Ret.) Eitan Yariv on Israel's Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system.
Obviously, the two systems were immediately recognized to be mutually compatible and would provide an immediate increase in joint capabilities against hostile ballistic missile threats against Europe, Israel and forward deployed NATO forces in the Middle Eastern theater of operations (Operation Enduring Freedom). Without question the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its Shahab-3/4/5 family of ballistic missiles, is seen by all parties as the primary emergent threat. Syria and newly ballistic missile-armed Hezbollah in Lebanon are second tier emergent threats.
It is no big surprise, therefore, to see operational in Israel today a jointly-manned American and Israeli operations center featuring the ground-based center-piece of the NATO system, the AN/TPY-2 radar seen here. Israel has not only integrated its defenses with the American systems in theater, but now has integrated with those of NATO on the European continent. Any launched ballistic missile threat within 1,900 miles of these allied territories will be rapidly identified, the specific launch point located and the incoming warhead destroyed. The effective range of this system is likely limited only by the overhead position of the space-based element of the networked system and the location of most forward deployed elements of the actual interceptor missiles - most likely located outside of Europe in Israel, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
Israeli generals win US high-tech ballistic missile tracking system - DEBKAfile
'Israel convinces US with Credible military plan on Iran' - Jerusalem Post
Anti-aircraft laser unveiled at Farnborough Airshow - BBC
Amid war talk, arms buildup continues - Asia Times
Hydrogen-powered spy plane unveiled - UPI