Gates: Europe could face hundreds of Iranian missiles

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, testifies at a Senate hearing.

From Reuters:  Citing the growing Iranian missile threat, the United States announced plans last September to integrate sea- and land-based missile defenses in and around its NATO allies in Europe, referred to as the "phased adaptive approach."

"One of the elements of the intelligence that contributed to the decision on the phased adaptive array (approach) was the realization that if Iran were actually to launch a missile attack on Europe, it wouldn’t be just one or two missiles, or a handful," [U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates said at a congressional hearing

"It would more likely be a salvo kind of attack, where you would be dealing potentially with scores or even hundreds of missiles."

Gates voiced confidence that upgraded missile interceptors in development "would give us the ability to protect our troops, our bases, our facilities and our allies in Europe."

Gates said having those interceptor systems in place by around 2020 was critical not only because of the missile threat from Iran and North Korea, but because "I think by 2020 we may well see it from other states, especially if we’re unsuccessful in stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons."  (photo: AP)

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