On May 12 United States and Romania held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Deveselu, Romania marking the operational certification of the U.S. Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System, a key milestone in European based missile defence.
The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) has many of the same components used at sea on guided-missile destroyers and cruisers, but has been adapted to perform the ballistic missile defense mission from land. In this case, Aegis ashore is in Deveselu, Romania. It’s part of the European Phased Adapted Approach (EPAA). EPAA is designed to protect European NATO allies, and U.S. deployed forces in the region, against current and emerging ballistic threats from the Middle East. In general, the ballistic missile threat to the region is growing both quantitatively and qualitatively. The EPAA’s purpose is to help deter future conflicts, primarily those from Iran and other nefarious non-state actors – and to defend ourselves and our NATO allies should deterrence fail.
AAMDS-Romania will have successfully completed operational validation as part of the EPAA Phase II architecture. This was accomplished through participation in the Cross area of responsibility Air and Missile Defense Exercise (CAMDEX) 2016. It is significant as CAMDEX 2016 is a unifying concept for exercise events designed to assist NATO in preparing for their Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of AAMDS-Romania.
The land-based ballistic missile defense system is designed to detect, track, engage, and destroy ballistic missiles in flight.
If launched, the interceptor flies out above the atmosphere and destroys the enemy ballistic missile warhead in flight.
SM-3 missiles are defensive weapons. They carry no explosive warheads of any type, and rely on their kinetic energy to collide with and destroy incoming enemy ballistic missile warheads.
The system in Romania is connected to other EPAA missile defense assets to maximize their effectiveness.
Missile defense and the EPAA assets are strictly defensive in nature. The U.S. interceptors are not armed with an explosive warhead of any kind. Instead, the interceptor collides with the threat warhead and relies on energy derived from the collision of two objects moving at incredible speeds to neutralize the threat. The interceptors have no capability as an offensive weapon.
File video depicting inside the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) the deckhouse and a Vertical Launch System (VLS) at Naval Support Facility Deveselu, Romania