Iran could fire ‘hundreds’ of missiles at Europe: Gates

WASHINTON:US intelligence has shown Iran could launch an attack against Europe with "scores or hundreds" of missiles, prompting major changes to US missile defenses, Pentagon chief Robert Gates said on Thursday.
President Barack Obama in September cited a mounting danger from Iran's arsenal of short and medium-range missiles when he announced an overhaul of US missile defense plans.
The new program, called the"phased adaptive approach," uses sea and land-based interceptors toprotect NATO allies in the region, instead of mainly larger weaponsdesigned to counter long-rangemissiles.
"One of the elements of the intelligence that contributed to thedecision on the phased adaptive array was the realization that if Iranwere actually to launch a missile attack onEurope, it wouldn't be just one or two missiles or a handful," Gates told a senate hearing.
"It would more likely be a salvo kind of attack, where you would be dealing potentially with scores or even hundreds of missiles."

Top US generals have said the new anti-missile system was meant to guard against a potential salvo of missiles from states such as Iran or North Korea.
Gates made the comment when askedby Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss if he supported deployingimproved missile defenses, including plans for an upgraded SM-3 missileby 2020, even if Russia objected.
Gates said he backed the 10-year plan, despite possible resistancefrom Moscow, saying the new missile defenses "would give us the abilityto protect our troops, our bases, our facilities and our allies inEurope."
Gates, along with other top deputies in the Obama administration, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committeeto argue for ratification of a new nuclear arms control treaty withRussia, trying to reassure Republican lawmakers the agreement posed nothreat to the missile defense program.

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