The Navy will commission its new missile defense base in southern Romania on Friday, one of two European land-based interceptor sites for a NATO missile shield vehemently opposed by Russia.
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 young sailors who will be manning this site are too young to remember when Romania was behind the Iron Curtain.
Land based Aegis is one of the smarter things we’ve seen come out of the DoD procurement program. Relatively cheap, and effective, Aegis/SM-3 is good for intercepting medium range missiles. The potential is there to upgrade to intercept actual ICBMs in the future.