Missile defense system may risk delays

A congressional investigation found that the planned missile defense system for Europe, known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach, may risk delays and prove unreliable with cost over-runs in its attempt to integrate sea and land-based missile defenses.

The European missile defense system is meant to defend against Iranian short and medium-ranged missiles that might be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads, Reuters reports.

The Government Accountability Office warned in its Tuesday report that visibility into the timetable and costs for the program was limited at best. The potential consequences of starting the project could risk, according to Reuters, “going into production before fully demonstrating system performance, leading to rework, cost increases, delays and uncertainties about delivered capabilities.”

In recent years, the United States has spent more than $10 billion a year on multiple missile defense programs, but critics to the plan say that they are not very reliable.

The only U.S. defense against long-range ballistic missiles was tested last week and failed for the second test in a row. The ground-based midcourse defense system has made eight intercepts out of 15 tries, according to the Missle Defense agency.

The components for the missile shield are Raytheon Co. Standard Missile-3 missile interceptors along with Lockheed Martin Corp’s Aegis weapons system.