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NATO Launches Ballistic Missile Defence Programme

Launch of NATO’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) Programme

NATO’s Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) Programme has reached a key milestone in Alliance efforts to field an Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) capability by 2010.

As a practical example of the ongoing transformation of NATO’s military capabilities, on 11 March 2005 the North Atlantic Council approved the Charter for the ALTBMD Programme Management Organisation (PMO). This decision launched the Alliance’s ALTBMD Programme, which will provide protection against the threat of ballistic missiles to our soldiers deployed on NATO missions.

The importance of being able to defend deployed troops against theatre-range ballistic missiles, such as SCUD missiles, was made apparent during the 1990s. As a number of foreign nations continue working on ballistic missile programmes, as well as developing chemical, nuclear, and biological warheads for those missiles, the need for effective defences has increased.

To counter this threat, NATO has, for the past several years, worked to design a battle management system for theatre missile defences. The system will be able to integrate different TMD systems (such as PATRIOT, the NATO MEADS system, SAMP-T) into a single coherent, deployable defensive network able to give layered protection against incoming ballistic missiles.

The detailed specifications of the NATO system were agreed by Defence Ministers in Istanbul last June. With the approval of the Charter, the NAC has formally established the TMD Programme Office, paving the way for the financing and purchase of the NATO TMD system.

The launch of the TMD program is the result of a decade of work by NATO in the theatre missile defence area, and provided to the Alliance a new collective capability for common defence.

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