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Aegis Ashore Is Anchored in Romania

Surface Navy has on-call mission for NATO

 

 

What’s haze gray with a big SPY-1 radar and shoots SM-3 missiles against ballistic missile targets from a MK 41 vertical launch system? What appears from the distance as an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is actually miles from the nearest seawater. It’s called “Aegis Ashore,” and it sits in the middle of rustic Romanian farmland.

“For the surface navy, it now has a strategic mission that is on-call for NATO,” said Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.

The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) installation at Deveselu, Romania, is part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, designed to protect Europe from threats coming from the Middle East – namely Iran.

AAMDS complements the four U.S. Navy Aegis DDGs that have been forward deployed to Rota, Spain, and are equipped with BMD [Ballistic Missile Defense] capability. They will soon be joined by a second Aegis Ashore site at Gmina Słupsk, Poland. Like the ships, AAMDS is operated by U.S. Navy sailors who deploy on a rotational basis.

There are several phases to the European Phased Approach. Phase 1 began in 2011 when the first Aegis BMD combatant, the Norfolk-based guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61), arrived for a Mediterranean deployment, and a forward-based Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system (AN/TPY-2) was installed in Turkey.

Phase 2 includes deployment of the first Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) to Deveselu, Romania, the Aegis Baseline 9 weapon system and upgraded SM-3 Block IB interceptors.

Pacific Missile Range Facility

The deckhouse for the Aegis Ashore system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, which serves as the test asset for the Aegis Ashore system in place in Romania and planned for Poland. Missile Defense Agency photo

In addition to AAMDS Romania, four Aegis BMD-capable guided-missile destroyers (DDGs) are stationed at Rota, Spain, “forward deployed” supporting ship stationing requirements for the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

With Phase 3, the second AAMDS in Poland will augment the four ships and the Romania Aegis Ashore site for a fully operational capability that with each successive phase is equipped with more advanced systems and missiles. To test all AAMDS capability, in 2014 the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) completed the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The site has conducted three live fire flight tests, and will continue to be the test platform for Aegis Ashore, Baseline 9, and SM-3 capability through delivery of Phase 3 in 2018.

“For the surface navy, it now has a strategic mission that is on-call for NATO,” said Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.

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Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...