The Navy and U.S. Missile Defense Agency declared a ballistic missile defense site in Romania operational this week.
The Lockheed Martin-built Aegis Ashore facility in Deveselu is the first of two sites planned as part of the U.S. and NATO’s BMD network based on the same technology used in the Navy’s guided missile destroyers and cruisers to protect against ballistic missile threats.
The site is built around a SPY-1D(V) air-search radar linked to three 8-cell Mark-41 Vertical Launch Systems armed with Raytheon Standard Missile 3 interceptors – the same equipment used on destroyers. The installation is named by U.S. sailors.
Russian officials sounded off against this newly activated U.S. missile defense site in Romania, calling it a threat to Russia and European stability in general.
As the Aegis Ashore missile defense site was formally activated during a ceremony featuring U.S., NATO and Romanian officials at a Cold War-era base, Admiral Vladimir Komyedov, head of the State Duma’s defense committee, told the Interfax news agency “they are moving to the firing line.”
“This is not just 100,” he said. “It’s 200, 300, 1,000 percent aimed against us.”
The former commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet brushed aside U.S. claims that the missile defense site was intended to deter Iranian threats.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told state news agency Tass Thursday that Moscow was considering military and technical response measures.
Today, the US declared the Aegis Ashore air defense system in Romania to be officially operational. The Aegis Ashore component based at Deveselu air base in Romania is part of a missile defense umbrella being built to counter the growing threat posed to European territory by ballistic missiles fired from nations such as Iran. The fear is that Iran will eventually possess missiles able to reach population centers in Europe and this missile defense system is a safeguard against the possibility of a future attack. Although the system was designed and built with rogue nations like Iran in mind, its appearance in Eastern Europe has long been a bone of contention between the US and Russia. Now, with tensions in the region rising, one has to wonder how Moscow will respond to the reality of an operational missile defense system on its front porch.
NATO encroachment has long been a…
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