US missile defense experts on Tuesday visited a Russian-operated radar station that Moscow is offering to share to counter potential missile threats from nations including Iran, but a top US general suggested its technology was outdated.
Experts visited the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan amid stubborn tensions over US plans to install elements of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, former Soviet satellites that are now members of NATO.
Brig. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, deputy director of the US Missile Defense Agency, said the experts were interested in what the Russian-leased radar station could offer but seemed to indicate it was too old for the purpose of defending against a potential threat from Iran - Washington's main argument for building the European system.
"Our impression here was that it is a radar that has performed the function it was designed to by the Russians back in the '80s and has been performing since and we are evaluating how that would fit in with a mutually beneficial cooperative way ahead," O'Reilly told reporters after the visit.