Missile agency doubles missile potential at Fort Greely

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The Missile Defense Agency has more than doubled the number of interceptor missiles that could be deployed at Fort Greely, though officials say there are neither plans nor funds for additional weapons beyond the original 16 scheduled to be operational in 2004.

In a decision published Friday in the Federal Register, the Defense Department agency said that in granting itself the authority to deploy up to 40 interceptors, the military would achieve maximum flexibility for maintenance and future operational needs.''

Silos for the interceptors, the fighting component of the ground-based missile defense system now under construction at the Interior Army base, cost $6 million each, not counting each missile itself.

Stacey Fritz, coordinator of Fairbanks-based No Nukes North, said the authorization for the additional missiles makes it even clearer how much of a deviation this is from what they were originally doing.''

The Clinton administration proposed basing up to 100 interceptors at Fort Greely. However, those missiles would not have been deployed unless it was shown they would work.

While the Bush administration may put fewer missiles in the ground, Fritz said, it went ahead before realistic testing could show that the system is viable and economical.

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