Fort Greely receives first booster rocket for Army's ground-based, defense system

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2004

FAIRBANKS - Fort Greely has received the first booster rocket for a ground-based midcourse defense system designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles.

Lt. Col. Jay Smith, chief of staff for the U.S. Army's site activation command, confirmed the booster was flown into Eielson Air Force Base and trucked down the Richardson Highway to Fort Greely last week.

The three-stage booster will be outfitted with a "kill vehicle" - a small rocket designed to destroy any warhead launched by a missile.

The Bush administration plans to have at least six of these interceptors in working order at Fort Greely by the end of the year, with plans for 20 more over the next few years.

Rick Lehner, spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency in Washington, said the first six interceptors should arrive at the base every few weeks over the course of the summer.

Maj. Eric Maxon, spokesman for the site activation command, said the military will not provide advance notice of booster arrivals for security reasons.

The interceptors are 54 feet long and 4 feet in diameter, and weigh up to 25 tons, according to last year's environmental impact statement on the missile defense system.

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