02 March 2005

Flogging a dead horse... err...Goose

A faithful reader of these electronic scribblings has brought my attention to a website containing a listing of news stories related to the ballistic missile defence project.

It would seem that events last fall have knocked Goose Bay off the list of likely sites for a new radar installation. That is, off the list unless Canada wanted to pick up the tab on its own. Briefings reported in stories by David Pugliese in the Citizen yesterday and today may actually be nothing more than sales pitches by Raytheon, not official US government proposals. (If this is true, then people have really been getting worked up for nothing. )

The Yorkshire (UK) Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament chapter deserves thanks for keeping everyone informed. Here's the link to their homepage.

Then try the campaign page of news articles devoted to missile defence in Scandinavia.

One story, dating from last August notes that the US and Denmark have updated the 1951 Defence of Greenland Agreement to include installation of new radar systems at Thule (pronounced thoo-lee) to support the ballistic missile defence program. Interestingly, this agreement may give the US the right to install interceptor missiles at Thule. The plan is reported to involve installing x-band radar systems.

Another story from Nunavut quotes a Canadian Forces officer as saying this decision makes it almost certain that no BMD systems will be built anywhere in northern Canada. (Take that, Bembridge scholars.)

There are several radar systems involved in this including upgrading of the existing BMEWS (ballistic missile early warning system), pronounced like "be muse". An earlier posting on the Yorkshire CND site covers this. This link to Raytheon gives a very brief description of the BMEWS upgrade.

Nostalgia moment: all these acronyms and talk of ballistic missiles takes me back to my undergraduate thesis on Soviet defence policy.