SSPAR in Sunshine

Theatre Missile Defence

Theatre Missile Defence

NATO Heads of State and Government agreed at the Istanbul Summit of June 2004 to the principle of a NATO Theatre Missile Defence programme, as well as the associated NATO Staff Requirement. The aim is to achieve a NATO Theatre Missile Defence capability by 2010 which will provide NATO deployed forces with active defences against shorter range ballistic missiles.

NATO Feasibility Studies were completed early in 2003, setting out timescales, costs, risks, range and numbers of systems needed, and possible industrial strategies for acquisition and support.

This analysis has been worked up into a NATO Staff Requirement which has spawned the Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme. This proposes that nations acquire and provide the Theatre BMD systems themselves, with NATO funding the BMC3I framework. The aim is to achieve a full Theatre BMD capability by 2010, with interim capability being declared earlier. In early May 2004, the Conference of National Armaments Directors agreed the ALTBMD Staff Requirement and a Project Office for capability delivery has since been set up; its current focus is on delivering an Integration Test Bed to facilitate systems engineering and integration The cost of the Command and Control system modification programme is roughly estimated at £450M, to which the UK will contribute through the common NATO Security Infrastructure Programme.

The UK treats theatre missile defence as separate from territorial defence, as it has different command and control, and political implications from a strategic defence system for all NATO territory. However, it is recognised that ALTBMD systems may play a part in any eventual strategic BMD architecture.

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