* * *
July 30, 2008 WASHINGTON — Bush administration officials reassured Israel’s defense minister this week that the United States has not abandoned all possibility of a military attack on Iran, despite widespread Israeli concern that Washington has begun softening its position toward Tehran.
In meetings Monday and Tuesday, administration officials told Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the option of attacking Iran over its nuclear program remains on the table, though U.S. officials are primarily seeking a diplomatic solution.
Installing a missile defense system in eastern Europe is alright and cannot be seen as a provocation, but….
Russia would cross “a redline for the United States of America” if it were to base nuclear capable bombers in Cuba, a top US air force officer warned on Tuesday.
“If they did I think we should stand strong and indicate that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America,” said General Norton Schwartz, nominated to be the air force’s chief of staff.
The Bush administration appears set to offer Israel a powerful radar system that could greatly boost Israeli defenses against enemy ballistic missiles while tying them directly into a growing U.S. missile shield.
President George W. Bush is expected to discuss the matter during a visit to Israel starting on Wednesday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state amid mounting U.S. concern over perceived threats from Iran, people familiar with the matter said.
This is “probably the No. 2 issue” on Bush’s agenda for the visit, second only to the Middle East peace process, said Rep. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican who has spearheaded calls in Congress for tighter U.S. missile-defense ties with Israel.
Gordon Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said in an e-mail, “While the U.S. and Israel cooperate closely on defense matters, there will not be any announcements during next week’s visit.” Bush is also to visit Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Richard Lehner, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, which is developing the multibillion-dollar layered shield, said questions about a new radar system for Israel were a “policy issue” outside the agency’s purview.
Riki Ellison, a prominent missile-defense advocate with close ties to the Pentagon and companies involved in building the hardware, said he understood giving Israel the missile-tracking system was “on the table right now.”
The system Bush may offer is known as a forward-based X-band radar. Transportable by air, it uses high-powered pulsed beams for extremely high-resolution tracking of objects in space such as a missile that could be tipped with a chemical, germ or nuclear warhead.
Built by Raytheon Co, the system has been described by U.S. officials as capable of tracking an object the size of a baseball from about 2,900 miles away.
It would let Israel’s Arrow missile defenses engage a Shahab-3 ballistic missile about halfway through what would be its 11-minute flight to Israel from Iran, or six times sooner than Israel’s “Green Pine” radar is currently capable of doing, Kirk said in a telephone interview on Friday.
‘PARTING GIFT’ FROM BUSH?
Kirk is a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves who confers with Israeli officials on missile defense. He serves one weekend a month as deputy director of intelligence in the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center.
With an X-Band system at work, he said, a missile intercept theoretically would take place over Iran or a neighboring state and not over Israel.
Russia begins the construction of a new missile base in the Southern Caucus region amid a row with the US over its missile shield.
Citing informed Georgian sources, the Azeri newspaper Ayna reported that Russia has started the construction work near the Armenian city of Noyemberyan.
The report added the base is located in a place overlooking Sadighlu village near the Georgian town of Marneuli and it would reportedly be equipped with advanced air defense and missile systems.
The move by Moscow is considered as a response to Washington’s plans for stationing the components of a missile defense shield system in Eastern Europe.
Russia says the US plan poses a threat to its national security and it has vowed to take retaliatory measures against the United States if Washington goes ahead with the project.
Sat, 03 May 2008 20:40:08
Source: Press TV
Barak authorizes nationwide emergency drill
Defense establishment, government and cabinet all to participate in exercise simulating crisis situation as part of upcoming national emergency drill to be held in April. Drill part of implementation of lessons from Second Lebanon War.
In the face of a possible escalation with Syria and Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon, parts of the country will shut down next month in what security officials say will be the largest emergency exercise in Israel’s history.The drill, which is being organized by the newly-established National Emergency Authority, will take place over five days starting on Sunday, April 6.
The looming U.S. Navy attempt to shoot down a dying satellite could demonstrate an anti-satellite capability for its missile defense system.
A successful kill would mark the first time the United States uses a tactical missile to destroy a spacecraft – assuming that the ship-based missile defense system can handle the high closing speed of more than 22,000 mph.
“Everything becomes much more stressful at these large closing speeds,” said Geoffrey Forden, MIT physicist and space expert. “But if they do hit it, that’d be very impressive, and that’d be proof that it has ASAT [anti-satellite] capability.”
We all know that the Pentagon has more space weapons technology in mind than just a single, satellite-shooting missile. But trying to pin down how much the Defense Department is spending on space combat research — and on what projects — is an absolute bitch. The programs are spread across at least a dozen different accounts; much of the technology involved is “dual use” — meaning, it could help with another military matters, too; and that’s before you get into the Defense Department’s “black,” classified budget.
Over the years, the gang at the Center for Defense Information has done a good a job as anyone at this thankless task. They’ve just released their survey of the Pentagon’s 2009 budget, highlighting research that could lead to arms in space. By the absolute most conservative estimate, we’re talking $520 million dollars in next year’s budget. The real number is likely several multiples of that.
The projects mostly involve ways to disable potentially hostile satellites; many have other uses, as well. They include a giant laser, to help spot targets in orbit (and to improve space imaging, in the meantime); micro satellites, that could disable another country’s orbiters (or repair our own); a series of jammers, to block enemy satellite signals; and missile interceptors, based in space.