United States and Polish officials commemorated the start of the construction phase of an Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) complex during a ceremony in Redzikowo, Poland on May 13.
«Our partnership with Poland and Romania underwrites U.S. military activities in the region and reflects our steadfast commitment to enhancing regional security», said Robert Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, «countering the threat of ballistic missile attacks from outside the Euro-Atlantic area is a collective security challenge that requires collective defense».
Aegis Ashore, a critical part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), is a land-based capability of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System constructed to defend NATO populations, territory, and forces against ballistic missile threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area. The EPAA concept is the U.S.’s multi-phase effort to support NATO BMD, which includes for using BMD-capable Aegis ships, Aegis Ashore Missile Defense sites, a forward deployed radar in Turkey, and a command and control network located at Ramstein Air Base (AB), Germany.
The commencement of construction on the site in Poland represents a key milestone to complete Phase III of the EPAA. U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet recognized another key milestone toward completion of Phase II of the EPAA by deeming the AAMDS in Romania as operationally certified in a ceremony held at Naval Support Facility Deveselu, May 12.
The BMD complex at Redzikowo will consist of a fire-control radar deckhouse with an associated Aegis command, control and communications suite. Separately, it will house several launch modules containing Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) missiles. Once complete, the Aegis Ashore BMD site in Poland will host the upgraded SM-3 Block IIA. The delivery of this improved weapons system, and the increased BMD infrastructure under EPAA, will improve the defensive coverage against medium- and intermediate-range threats.
«Aegis Ashore reflects the strength of our relationship as Allies and our resolve in promoting security and close regional cooperation in Europe», added Work. «This enhancement marks another milestone and is consistent with the enduring partnership between the U.S., Poland and Romania. The Department of Defense looks forward to continued work with our NATO allies in developing BMD».
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District is managing the project. Two major construction contracts for missile defense and Navy support facilities in Redzikowo were awarded this year. Naval Support Facility (NSF) Redzikowo is expected to be established in fall of 2016 and will host the missile defense complex and supporting personnel when it opens in 2018. Technical capability of the U.S. BMD complex is expected to be delivered in the 2018 timeframe.