Oct 10, 2014
US Navy to commission missile defense base in Romania
The base represents a rare expansion of the U.S. footprint in Europe, and the even rarer construction of a new Navy base from the ground up.
The base in Deveselu will be the first to feature the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system, a land-based version of the sophisticated radar tracking system installed on U.S. warships since 2004. Scheduled to become operational by the end of next year, the base — which is housed within a larger Romanian military installation — will be staffed by several hundred U.S. military, civilian and contract employees. A second site, in Poland, is scheduled to become operational by 2018.
The site is part of a NATO missile defense shield pursued by two U.S. administrations as a defense against short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles from Iran and other rogue states. But Russia has long criticized the project, claiming it was aimed against its own ballistic missile arsenal.
U.S. warships equipped with Aegis systems began making regular patrols in the Mediterranean in 2011, and the U.S. is moving four of the destroyers to Rota, Spain, for the missions. An advanced radar system in Turkey was completed in 2012.
The site at Deveselu, Romania, will host an Aegis SPY-1 radar and hold 24 Standard Missile-3 interceptors of the Block IB variant. A four-story radar deckhouse, similar to those used on a warship, will be moved to the site from the U.S. East Coast as part of construction.
The third and fourth phases were to focus on medium- and longer-range missile threats, with construction of the second land-based site in Poland and development of two new SM-3 variants.