Found this on a reputable Australian news site, fascinating read
Pine Gap's wider missile role
SOURCE - www.theage.com.au...
The joint Australian-US defence facility at Pine Gap, in central Australia.
THE Pine Gap spy base in central Australia could become part of the Bush Administration's controversial plan for a global anti-ballistic missile
In a speech to Parliament marking the 40th anniversary of the joint Australian-US facility, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said it contributed to
global security, helped inhibit the spread of ballistic missiles and provided information on ballistic missile launches of interest to Australia. And,
information from Pine Gap on missile launches could be used in any US missile defence system.
"As such, this would be a continuation of a ballistic missile early warning partnership that we have shared with the United States for over 30
years," Dr Nelson said.
Australia's increasing involvement in the planned US system has raised concerns from those who fear that what is intended as a defensive arrangement
could provoke other countries, notably China and Russia, into significantly increasing the number of missiles in their arsenals to ensure that if
enough are fired, some will get through.
Ron Huisken, a senior fellow from the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre said Dr Nelson's statement seemed
designed to reassure the Americans of continuing co-operation on missile defence and raised the possibility of collaboration with Japan, which was
closely involved with the US program.
"For the Government to "For the Government to proactively go out and acknowledge that information that transits Australia would be directly linked
to any ballistic missile defence system that the US deploys, and by implication the Japanese, is in itself significant," he said.
Dr Huisken said Australia's collaboration on missile defence with Japan and the US could agitate the Chinese and Russians. Moscow has already
objected to a Europe-based US ballistic missile defence shield.
That could lead to proliferation as countries sought to develop weapons that could penetrate the shield. "Both the Russians and the Chinese have been
acutely sensitive about ballistic missile defence development," he said. "The Chinese would begin to worry whether they had a strategic nuclear
deterrence against the United States."
The missile defence system, designed to protect America and its allies from missiles launched by "rogue states", will integrate defensive missile
systems on land and at sea with spy satellites and the navy's new-generation air warfare destroyers.
Defence scientists from Australia, the US and Japan are already including in the system Australia's Jindalee radar network, which is capable of
"seeing" far over the horizon. Other systems operate on line-of-sight and have a much shorter range. The Australian-designed Jindalee operates
across the Top End, and US scientists who have examined it told The Age they were impressed by its range and capability. They confirmed it could
detect a missile launch in Asia.
Dr Nelson said Pine Gap had two main roles: collecting intelligence and providing early warning on ballistic missiles. It provided information on
terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and military developments.