Defence Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on Tuesday (9 December) moved closer to setting up a fleet of weirdly shaped flying radar station over western Europe to fill a blind spot in the alliance's defence system.
SV NATO delegates arriving (2 shots)
SV Military delegates arriving
CU NATO emblem
GV INTERIOR Delegates in conference room
SV United States delegates PAN TO Chairman
SV United Kingdom, Turkish, and Portuguese delegates
SV West German, Icelandic delegates
SV Chairman ZOOM OUT TO Delegates seated at tables
GV Conference in progress
MINISTERS AND MILITARY DELEGATES ARRIVING: NATO EMBLEM: UNITED STATES, UNITED KINGDOM, TURKISH,PORTUGUESE,WEST GERMAN, ICELANDIC DELEGATES AND CHAIRMAN: CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS.
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Background: Defence Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on Tuesday (9 December) moved closer to setting up a fleet of weirdly shaped flying radar station over western Europe to fill a blind spot in the alliance's defence system.
Informed diplomatic sources said the ministers meeting in a two day session in the Belgian capital, Brussels, pledged themselves to take a final decision on the project within the next few months.
The Ministers accepted reports from NATO's top military men that the present ground base system could not pick up attack by low flying aircraft. A special hump backed Boeing 707 packed with the most modern equipment the United States can produce has been earmarked for the job. The hump is a 30 ft. (nine metre) wide dome which revolves. The radar inside can identify enemies from friends in the heat of an air battle.
The aircraft cost 117 million dollars but the Ministers had already heard British Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Peter Hill-Norton, who is chairman of the military committee, criticise NATO countries who were cutting their forces. Sir Peter said there had been a continuous improvement in the military strength of the Soviet led Warsaw pact countries. The Soviet Union has had a similar flying radar station to the proposed NATO' plane since 1968.
A statement released during the day said the United States will spend 88,983 million dollars (about GBP44,500 sterling) on defence this year. European NATO members and Canada will spend 60, 331 million dollars (about GBP30,150 sterling).
New United States Defence Minister Mr.Donald Rumsfeld was at the meeting, his first NATO Ministerial session.