U.S. missile defense system taking shape in Alaska: report
December 10, 2006
A missile defense system is taking shape in Fort Greely, Alaska, four years after U.S. President George W. Bush ordered a limited missile defense system to be built and nearly a quarter century after former President Ronald Reagan first proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Eleven interceptor missiles have been installed in underground silos in Fort Greely, buried beneath the snow and a former forest of black spruce, and a 12th will be installed this month, the report said.
The number of interceptors installed at the base is expected to expand to as many as 38.
Even as questions persist about its capability, the missile defense program is pushing forward at a cost of at least 9 billion U.S. dollars a year, and about a third of the money goes to the kind of operation based at Fort Greely, called Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, which is intended to shoot down enemy missiles while they travel through space.
Vandenberg Air Force Base in California houses two interceptors, and Adak, in the Aleutian Islands, is scheduled to become the home port of the Sea-Based X-band Radar, a long-delayed system built on a converted oil rig that is critical to the ground-based system's ability to track enemy missiles, according to the report.
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