The US missile warning center to be installed in the Czech Republic will consist of two stations, Aktuálně.cz was told by a well-informed source from the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The first computer center will be installed in the Joint Operation Center of the Defense Ministry in Prague, the second station will be located in the Aerospace Defense Command near Stará Boleslav, Central Bohemia.
“Stará Boleslav is a logical choice. It gathers all information on the defense of our airspace. Prague will be responsible for distributing the data on our territory to our components,” former general of the Czech army Jiří Šedivý believes.
Computers instead of radar
Originally, the USA planned to install an anti-ballistic radar base in the Czech Republic, however this initiative proposed by George W. Bush was abandoned after he was replaced in the presidential office by Barack Obama.
The purpose of the planned missile warning system is to pass information on launched missiles observed by US satellites. In addition, it will be able to tell the probable impact zone and type of missiles.
The center will monitor ballistic missiles launched within 3,500 kilometer from the NATO borders.
The system will be manned by Czech soldiers, most likely members of the Aerospace Defense Forces. It is expected that roughly 20 people will be needed to run the two stations.
“The center’s purpose will be to evaluate the information coming from different sources, such as radars or satellites. It will conduct non-stop monitoring and will be sending the information it gathers to the operation centers of the states which would participate in the system,” said military expert Martin Koller.
Experts believe that the fact that the system will be placed in the Czech Republic is to be seen as rather symbolic. The Czech center will share the data with the US North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
“The Czech Republic would be able to use the data at its own discretion, the main benefit will be in strengthening the ability of the national defense system to react in case of unexpected situation,” Aktuálně.cz was told by its source from the Foreign Affair Ministry.
In addition to the USA, only four more countries will participate in the system.
So far it seems that no new treaties between the Czech Republic and USA will have to be signed. Prague will use the treaties already signed two years ago within the framework of the scrapped radar base plan.
The US experts who visited the Czech Republic in May 2010 said that the system can be launched as soon as in October 2011. The construction, operating and training costs will be initially paid exclusively by the USA. However, after 2012, it is supposed that the Czech Republic will start to co-finance the project, which costs are estimated on USD 1.5 million every year.
“We are waiting for the Americans to give us a concrete proposal. Then we will present it to the government to discuss it. I expect that this issue will be resolved in the first half of 2011,” said Defense Minister Alexander Vondra from the right-wing Civic Democratic Party, the largest member of the coalition.