Rome, 20th-21st April 1993

Official Record

Office of the Clerk of the Assembly of WEU



Wednesday, 21st April 1993


General report


Mr. MARTRE (President of GIFAS (Groupement des industries francaises aeronautiques et spatiales), France).-


The questions that have been tackled during these two days are particularly complex and delicate. They are fairly typical of the way defence problems are arising in the world today following the end of bipolar confrontation and the dreams of a new world order: the numerous implications and uncertainties leave us in situations which are unclear.

We have heard a large number of addresses of a very high standard setting out many aspects of the problem and it is particularly difficult to make a quick synthesis. Mr. Lenzer is responsible for drawing political conclusions from these presentations and discussions. I, for my part, will try to make a logical, reasoned summary, and I apologise in advance for not being able to bring out the full wealth of the thinking of the speakers. Mr. Soell, President of the Assembly, has invited us to take note of the facts, which is what I shall therefore do.


Proliferation that would endanger the stability of the world and security in Europe stems from weapons systems that associate weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering those weapons, i.e. missiles. Hence it is the result of two types of material dissemination: nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic and cruise missiles. This dissemination is a great danger because it leads to weapons systems that are highly effective from the standpoint of destructive power, range and accuracy at a cost that is relatively modest compared with the major conventional systems. The cost effectiveness of these systems is particularly low and, as a result, they have an enormous power of attraction for countries in the process of development, with very widespread regional contagion effects. To assess the state of proliferation, it is noted that there are now believed to be a dozen countries with nuclear weapons (five members of the Security Council, three more in the CIS and very probably four others); in the case of other weapons, it is said that there will be thirty developing countries with chemical weapons towards the end of the nineties and seven with biological weapons. For ballistic missiles, it is estimated that fifteen developing countries will have such missiles with a range of up to 1 000 km at the end of the nineties and six with a range over 3 000 km. The situation is similar for cruise missiles.

The assessments which have been given are credible in view of the use that has already been made of missiles of this type in the last fifty years (V-1 and V-2 at the end of the second world war, the war between Iran and Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the Gulf war) and of what we know about the efforts being made by various countries in respect of missiles and weapons of mass destruction. It can be seen that certain regional balances are already being established on these bases (Israel-Syria, India-Pakistan, etc.) although none of these systems has yet been used. It cannot be denied that several dozen countries wish to obtain such weapons, if they have not already done so, and the problem is whether it is possible for them to do so. The aim of the 1987 MTCR agreement is to prevent them having ballistic missiles and the agreement is well applied by countries that have acceded to it. Unfortunately, some countries are developing their capability without apparent foreign assistance, others are benefiting from open or clandestine foreign supplies and, finally, some have obtained deliveries of complete missiles from China or North Korea. The situation is different in the case of weapons of mass destruction since there do not seem to have been any deliveries of complete systems, but the circumvention of international agreements is still a very serious danger, particularly since the destabilisation of the Soviet Union.

The American situation

The escalation of nuclear weapons between the United States and the Soviet Union first started to slow down in 1972 with the ABM treaties which authorised anti-missile defence only within the limits of a single site with a maximum of 100 weapons. The United States had, moreover, abandoned this possibility and has no anti-missile protection. Fearing a circumvention of the ABM treaties, in 1983 the United States launched an enormous programme (SDI) to study a nuclear shield system including missile-destroying weapons in space. In view of the astronomical cost of such a shield, the outlook after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the threats of proliferation, the Americans considerably modified their programme in 1991 to transform it into the three-part GPALS:

- a shield against limited attack (200 weapons) by long- range missiles. This shield would comprise weapons on space platforms. It would contravene the ABM treaties and cost about $1000 million;

- protection for American deterrent capability. The purpose would be to protect a missile-launching site (Grand Forks) in accordance with the ABM treaties at a cost of about $25 000 milllion;

- protection for United States forces abroad and theatres of operation: so-called tactical or ATBM systems not covered by the ABM treaties and costing about $10 000 million. It is noted, moreover, that the amount covered by the American draft budget would be about $4 000 million, mainly for the last two parts, the first and most ambitious being left at the research level.

The Russian situation

Following the 1972 ABM treaty, the Soviet Union equipped a site (Moscow) with about a hundred interceptors with nuclear warheads which they subsequently modernised: this is the only truly operational anti-ballistic missile system.

In 1991, Soviet nuclear forces were split up between four countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In 1992, Russia said it was prepared to discuss co-operation in a global protection system, which should lead to a revision of the ABM treaties.

In 1993, the debate is open in Russia in regard to such a possibility and the situation seems confused.

American-Russian projects

The link between the START 2 nuclear weapons limitation agreements and an anti-missile defence system that would lead to a revision of the ABM treaties has been raised. It is indeed clear that the START 2 negotiations were carried out in a twofold context: - East-West detente;

- threats of proliferation,and that the two signatory powers wished to set up a system that took account of these two considerations and leading to:

- the maintenance of nuclear deterrence between the two great powers at a level of mutual threat from ballistic missiles four times lower than the initial level; - protection against proliferators by:

- limited anti-missile protection with or without revision of the ABM treaties; - specific deterrent capability (bombs, missiles, cruise missiles).

Following the agreements of principle reached in 1991 and 1992 between the two Presidents, contacts between experts from the two countries were continued in order to study a GPS system (design studies, consideration of research and development programmes, the fight against proliferation).

Furthermore, it is not certain whether it will be possible to ratify the START 2 treaty in view of the position of the other CIS states.

The European problem

An analysis of the present situation shows that Western Europe is not directly threatened. Conversely, it is surrounded by an environment that is particularly complex and unstable and involves very great risks at a time as yet unforeseeable. These risks are, moreover, destined to increase with time because of proliferation.

To the East, there are four nuclear powers in the CIS and it is not known whether it will be possible to ratify the START 2 treaty or whether it will be respected. Nor is it known whether the ABM treaties will be revised, knowing that a substantial raising of the ceilings might destabilise the balance of deterrence in Europe (1) . Furthermore, the situation in the Balkans and in the south of the CIS is unstable and a breeding ground for local conflicts and clashes between powers. To the south of Europe, around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East, the situation is dangerous because of growing intolerance, the exacerbation of rivalry and proliferation. The Atlantic Alliance is still in force, but the repatriation of the majority of American forces and the changing shape of threats and risks are slackening links to some extent between the United States and Western Europe.

The creation of a European Union responsible for defining a common foreign and security policy, the designation of WEU as the European pillar of the Atlantic Alliance and, in general, the Maastricht arrangements give Western Europe a framework for coping with this global situation. Europe and proliferation

In order to counter proliferation, four means were analysed: - controlling transfers of weapons and means of delivery as well as sensitive technology: such controls must be strengthened, but they will slow down proliferation without being able to stop it; - preventive destruction of weapons or military or industrial installations: this means is particularly difficult to implement;

- deterrence: this is an essential means, but the methods of implementation must be diversified to be able to respond to all situations and the dialectics are still uncertain; - anti-missile defence: since none of the abovementioned means can offer an absolute guarantee, anti-missile defence is recognised as being necessary in Western Europe for ensuring the defence of its vital interests and giving it freedom to intervene externally with no fear of blackmail. The establishment of an anti-missile defence system in Western Europe raises three problems:

The institutional framework

This should normally be the framework whose principles were defined in the Maastricht agreements in accordance with the three treaties: of the Atlantic Alliance, of WEU, of the European Union.

Since it is a question of anti-missile defence, it should be specifically European in view of its particular geostrategic situation and, furthermore, on a continental scale. Hence it is mainly in the framework of WEU that the specifications of the systems, the conditions for carrying out the work and installing and commissioning them can be defined. Bringing them into service raises the problem of the devolution of powers and the delegation and architecture of command in view of the extreme rapidity with which decisions will have to be taken.

Type of defence

The risk stems from cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with ranges up to 3 000 km. The risk from the East was usually handled in the framework of planning by the Atlantic Alliance and member nations. Changes have been towards a reduction in the threat and, to date, nothing seems to justify including defence in the system. Things would be different if the ABM treaties were revised as this would make it necessary to reassess the situation. The risk from the south would initially be from ballistic missiles with a range up to 1 000 km. It might subsequently be from missiles with a range of about 3 000 km and from cruise missiles. In view of the re-entry speeds of these ballistic missiles, they would justify ATBM defence or, to use American terminology, theatre defence.

Financial estimate

According to the estimates given, ATBM defence would cost about $10 000 million. This can obviously not be an accurate figure because nothing has been defined in enough detail for that. To assess Western Europe's ability to finance such a programme, it should be recalled that the total military equipment budgets of its component countries amount to $60 000 million per year. If we assume that the achievement of the ATBM programme would be spread over ten years, it can be seen that the programme would represent only 1.5% of equipment budgets, which is a small proportion, and financing should not raise insuperable problems.

Industrial production of systems

It would appear that all the technology necessary for producing an ATBM defence system is available in Europe. For warning and targeting, infrared sensor satellites and communications satellites are necessary.

Europe has produced few military satellites, but its effort in the civil space area has given it excellent capabilities and made it very competitive in the area of satellites and launchings. It may therefore be thought that the satellites necessary for an ATBM system might be derived from existing civil satellites and even that some communications satellites might be used in part for the ATBM system. In view of these capabilities and for a simple warning system adapted to the needs of Europe alone, the cost of a warning system might be about $250 million. The command and control system of an ATBM system raises the problem of the overall architecture of the system and depends on national and allied authorities who would be required to intervene in the process. Such a system may be conceived as an extension of existing air defence systems or as an independent system. It is essential to ensure the interoperability of the various components of the system to ensure its integrated operation. In all these areas, European countries have excellent mastery of the main systems and good experience. For firing units, there must be high performance electronic scanning radars and missiles on board infrared sensors and considerable mobility. Several types of missile might be considered, some endo-atmospheric and others upper endo-atmospheric or even exo-atmospheric. In this area, anti- missile systems are now being developed in Europe for defence against cruise and air-to-surface missiles, for instance the FSAF family being produced in the framework of EUROSAM. Consideration might be given to developing an ATBM system on the basis of these projects and research conducted elsewhere.

Co-operation with the United States

The only parts of the American GPALS programme that might interest Europe are the warning system and the ATBM system. The space-based weapons system cannot be transferred to foreign countries under the ABM treaties in their present form and its achievement seems very improbable. Defence of the Grand Forks site against intercontinental ballistic missiles is a specifically American defence matter.

For the warning system, there might be co-operation between Europe and the United States, but this raises the problem of access to data in all circumstances. For ATBM systems, the Americans are studying certain types of missiles suited to such defence: Erint, Thaad and the terminal stage Leap which might be adapted for Patriot, for instance.

Co-operation between Europe and the United States for the establishment of an ATBM system in Europe seems possible and is certainly desirable if it can lead to savings being made. However, we must start from the idea that no system of this type exists at present and there is therefore no question of procuring a system off the shelf.


In the light of all the information obtained, it can but be recommended that WEU take the initiative of promoting the launching of basic studies to allow Western Europe to have, in about fifteen years' time, an anti-missile defence system capable of intercepting ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3 000 km. The most urgent studies concern the warning system and the architecture of the command and control system. It would probably be useful, at the same time, to launch feasibility studies for the associated firing systems (radars and missiles). Mr. TCHUVAKHIN (Deputy Director for Missile Technology, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation) responding to comments concerning aspects of Russian policy and first Mr. Martre's report on the discussions, was surprised that there had been suggestions that Russian doctrine was an offensive one. Russia's defence doctrine could be confirmed by its stance in the framework of European security and the conventional arms reductions. There were questions and problems regarding Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus where the START II Treaty was concerned. It was hoped, however, that Ukraine would adopt a positive stance and fulfil the obligations and commitments under the Lisbon Protocol.

Regarding the official position towards the GPS, in all democratic societies these matters were debated by parliamentarians, industry, scientists and so on, but the official attitude towards the ABM Treaty had not changed since 1972. Regarding the statement by Mr. von Kries on legal outer space regimes, under the ABM Treaty, Brilliant Pebble interceptors would be strictly banned and there could be no question of offensive or defensive weapons. If they were designed and tested against strategic ballistic missiles, this should be banned. There were three main treaties relating to strategic armaments and reductions, some aspects of which related to outer space and national technical means of verification. The START I Treaty contained a provision for avoiding intervention in such national technical means. It was well-known that this was a space-based surveillance and intelligence satellite.

Mr. MARTRE (GIFAS, France) had tried to make a synthesis of all that had been said and thought these details were very important and allowed the discussions to be clarified. He noted that Russia was attached to respecting the ABM Treaties and that the Brilliant Pebbles aspect of the GPALS was not in conformity with these treaties and should not, therefore, be stationed in space. He thought it was therefore very important to note this position. He did not believe, however, that after all the discussions on the financial difficulties in Europe regarding participation in such a vast programme the abovementioned problem really concerned Europe, since Europe was interested only in the ATBM system and in international agreements which might be concluded in that case.

(Mr. Lopez Henares, Chairman of the Technological and Aerospace Committee, took the Chair)