NATO theater missile defense acquires "interim capability"

09:58, January 28, 2011      

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NATO's theater ballistic missile defense system has achieved "interim capability" of linking member states' anti-missile equipment to protect deployed forces, the alliance said Thursday in a statement.

The capability was handed over to military commanders Thursday at NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany. The handover ceremony came after NATO technicians conducted a serial of tests by linking weapons and sensor systems from five countries -- France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States.

"The NATO Combined Air Operations Center demonstrated how this interim capability allows NATO commanders, for the first time ever, to do limited ballistic missile defense planning and exchange information with national ballistic missile defense assets," the statement said.

"NATO commanders now have for the first time an initial, limited but integrated ability to manage a defense battle to protect deployed forces against ballistic missile attacks," it said.

The system, which is to be enlarged, will become the cornerstone of NATO's territorial missile defense system.

The alliance has been working on the missile defense system in the field by hooking member states' anti-missile weapons together for years.

In November last year, NATO leaders decided to expand theater missile defense to territorial missile defense, protecting not just deployed troops but civilians as well.

Source: Xinhua

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