U.S. improving Persian Gulf missile defense

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The United States has begun improving the missile defense system for their Persian Gulf alliances. Military officials stated that the Obama administration is increasing the capability of land and sea missile defense in hopes of further security in the face of Iran's perceived increasing nuclear missile threat.

File photo of the Aegis Cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) sailing in the Baltic Sea.
Image: Michael Sandberg.

General David Petraeus of U.S. Central Command made a statement saying eight new missile batteries have been placed in four separate countries in the Persian Gulf, now speculated to be Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar along with new Navy ships in the Mediterranean. The White House plans to send a review of the changes towards the missile defense strategy to the Congress on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010.

The expansion had begun under the Bush administration, now continuing with the Obama administration who wishes to take extra precautions against Iran's growing Nuclear Program. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated in December that the Pentagon is taking these protective measures in case the Obama administration later issues orders for defense against Iran.

U.S. President Barack Obama had also released a statement in 2009 saying that he wanted a strategic plan in which Aegis ships would be able to defend Persian Gulf allies in Europe from any threats.

The Obama administration said that these changes in land and sea defense are capable of defending the U.S. and it's Persian Gulf allies from mid-range nuclear threats from Iran. The Pentagon also stated that ships containing SM-3 interceptors would enable the U.S. to re-locate the capabilities of the new missiles as needed, and that Aegis interceptor systems are capable of tracking upwards of 100 targets, and the the system can blow up missiles above the atmosphere.

The U.S. arms sales had surpassed the sales from Saudi Arabia by approximately $4.6 billion in 2009.