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Lockheed, Raytheon Gain in Gates’s Europe Missile-Defense Plan By Tony Capaccio January 14, 2010, 02:42 PM EST


Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Orders of Lockheed Martin Corp. interceptor missiles would quadruple and those of Raytheon Co. missiles would triple in the Pentagon’s revised five-year spending plan for a missile defense for Europe.

The increased spending reflects President Barack Obama’s decision in September to scrap plans to base a system in Poland and the Czech Republic that would defend Europe against long- range missiles from Iran.

The new plan uses existing missile systems based on land and at sea to guard against the threat of short- and medium- range rockets. U.S. intelligence assessments early last year indicated Iran is moving more quickly to develop these weapons and making less progress than believed on long-range missiles.

The proposed spending is included in a directive signed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Dec. 23 and widely distributed within the Defense Department. It spells out major adjustments to the fiscal 2011-2015 budget plan to be released Feb. 1.

“These increases seem to support a greater emphasis on deploying current and near-term U.S. ballistic missile defense capabilities as quickly as possible,” said Steven Hildreth, a missile defense analyst for the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

Staged Deployment

Deployment of the revised missile defense would extend through 2020. The first step is to put existing sea-based weapons systems on Aegis-class destroyers and cruisers.

Subsequently, a mobile radar system would be deployed in a European nation near Iran. More advanced, mobile systems would be put in place later elsewhere in Europe. Their centerpiece would be Bethesda, Maryland-based- Lockheed’s Terminal High Altitude Defense interceptor missiles and improved Standard Missile-3 IB missiles made by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon.

“It means taking missile defense and sort of distributing it, starting off on Aegis ships,” then “putting systems ashore and lashing all that together,” Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander said in an interview.

“We are not at a stage yet where we would be talking to a nation about putting a radar in. That’s in the future,” he said. “As a first step we are looking at where our Aegis ships may be distributed to create the initial shield.”

Lockheed spokeswoman Cheryl Amerine declined to comment on the budget proposal. Raytheon spokesman John Patterson did not reply to an e-mailed request for comment.


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