From Russia ...

/ February 20, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Admittedly, there are probably a few obstacles standing in the way of some kind of U.S.-Russian ballistic missile defense cooperation. But the thought of long-range nuclear-tipped missiles flying out of Iran one day has leaders in Moscow and Washington worried enough that the idea has gained some appeal while the Bush-era plans for a Poland- and Czech Republic-based system are under review.

Dean Wilkening, a Stanford University professor researching the technical feasibility of various European missile defense configurations, now throws a hypothetical, suitable Russian site into the mix that could come out of such an unprecedented pact.

In an updated briefing he sent us this week, Wilkening argues the combination of a tracking radar and interceptors located in Armavir, Russia, would cover most of Europe plus a good chunk of Russia against ballistic missiles from Iran.

According to his slides, the joint U.S.-Russian site would ...

"-- Protect western Russia, Europe and the US from non-stressing threats;
 -- protect Europe (except Turkey) and western Russia (except southern Russia) from depressed trajectories and low-((radar cross section)) threats; ((and))
 -- protect the United States from low-RCS threats."

No word on whether an Armavir site will be featured in an upcoming Congressional Budget Office report about European missile defense options.

-- Sebastian Sprenger

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