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US Ballistic Missile Defense Costs Rise Nearly 6 Percent

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Pentagon - Sputnik International
US Department of Defense acquisition report says that program costs for the Ballistic Missile Defense System increased by 5.9 percent to a total of nearly $140 billion.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Program costs for the Ballistic Missile Defense System increased by 5.9 percent to a total of nearly $140 billion, according to a US Department of Defense acquisition report released on Thursday.

“Program costs increased $1,238.5 million (+5.9%) from $138,599.3 million to $139,837.8 million,” the report stated.

The increases were primarily due to additional funding for Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GBMD) reliability improvements, an adjustment for current and prior escalation, refined cost estimates and methodology changes as well as Congressional “plus ups” for various programs, according to the report.

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The increases, however, were partially offset by a reduction in Thermal High Altitude Aerial Defense interceptors, Aegis realignment and a delay in Ground-Based Interceptor procurement.

The US-designed ballistic missile defense system was approved in 2010, during a NATO summit in Lisbon. A range of European countries, including Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey agreed to deploy elements of this system on their territories.

GBMD is located in Alaska and California, while some US officials are advocating for a third location in the Eastern United States. The GBMD program has been beset by a number of setbacks in testing.

The sea-based Aegis system has been much more successful in testing, while the Patriot system has been used in combat defenses.

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Washington created threats for Russia by expanding its missile defense shield, placing its elements in Eastern Europe, close to the Russian border. However, NATO claims the system is primarily aimed to protect its allies, countering threats from North Korea and Iran.

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