Washington (AFP) March 1, 2011
The US military will send a warship to the Mediterranean next week as a first step in a defense shield to protect Europe from a potential strike from Iran's missile arsenal, a defense official said Tuesday. The USS Monterey, a guided missile cruiser equipped with Aegis radar designed to detect ballistic missiles, is due to depart next week from its home port in Norfolk, Virginia for a six-month mission, said John Plumb, principal director of nuclear and missile defense policy. The ship's launch fulfills the US administration's goal of deploying military hardware for the shield in 2011. After President Barack Obama announced a new missile defense policy in 2009, Plumb said "now here is our first concrete demonstration of our commitment to the missile defense of our deployed forces, allies and partners in Europe.