A month has gone by with no response since Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said during a speech at the Russian Embassy in London on April 16 that Russia’s strategic forces are capable of penetrating the US missile shield and it poses no military threat to the Russia anymore.
”We have solved the issue of penetrating the missile shield. We regret that the United States wastes their money on missile defense and compels us to do the same. The missile shield is nothing for us, it’s a bluff. It poses no military threat, but remains a political and economic problem,” Rogozin said.
The American Missile Intercept Warning Systems, initiated under the Bush administration to guard Europe against Iranian ballistic missiles, has installed powerful radars in Israel, Turkey and placed SM-3 interceptors aboard naval ships in the Mediterranean.
Israel agreed to allow the US to install special early-warning radar in 2010 as part of the NATO system. Turkey followed in 2011.
But in March, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that, due to budget pressures, Washington was scrapping the fourth and final stage of the system, which would have installed a more advanced SM-3 interceptor in Poland and Romania within 10 years. Instead, the Pentagon decided to add 14 interceptors to missile defenses in Alaska at a cost of $1 billion.
Washington is mum on Russian claim
Meanwhile, Rogozin’s surprising claim has not elicited any American, Western or Israeli reactions.
So is it true that Russia has indeed managed to penetrate the US-designed missile shield or not?
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources say that if it is, it would have far-reaching implications for the defenses set up by Mideast and Persian Gulf states against potential Iranian ballistic missile attacks.
Israeli would have to revamp its anti-missile defense system so that it is not longer dependent on and integrated in the US missile shield for Europe.
The Israeli system hinges on Arrow interceptor missiles whose warning and activation systems are connected to US X-band radar stations in the Israeli Negev and the Kurecik air base in southeast Turkey near the Iran border.
The Israelis can’t afford being linked to a defense system penetrated by the Russians, because Moscow cannot be trusted not to pass the confidential data it has gathered about these operating systems to Tehran.
At his London speech, the Russian official referred to Moscow’s long campaign of resistance to the US Europe-based missile shield plan. He said Russia’s strong objections arose from its “provocative” and “excessive” nature – forcing other countries to boost their strategic defenses and compelling Russia “to search for a wise and asymmetric response.”
US allies would be left high and dry against Iranian missiles
Israel would dearly love to hear more about Russia’s "wise and asymmetric response." But the Obama administration, including the Pentagon, has kept its reactions, if any, to itself.
Because of this omission, Chuck Hagel was greeted coolly during his April tour of Israel and the Persian Gulf States, even though he came bearing gifts in the form of arms packages worth $10 billion.
Asked if these packages were designed to tell Tehran that a military strike against its nuclear program was still on the table, Hagel replied: "I don't think there's any question that's another very clear signal to Iran."
But no one was convinced in Jerusalem, Riyadh or Abu Dhabi. Neither were their military planners impressed by the big US arms deal, maintaining that it consists of ageing weaponry that is woefully lacking in answers for an Iranian ballistic missile threat.
Above all, the Russian claim to have cracked the codes of the American Missile Intercept Warning Systems, if uncorrected, leaves US allies in the region high and dry and dangerously exposed.