The United States and Romania have announced that Deveselu Air Base in Romania will host a U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System that employs the SM-3 interceptor, also referred to as the Aegis Ashore System. The deployment to Romania is anticipated to occur in 2015 as part of the second phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, or EPAA -- the U.S. contribution to a NATO missile defense architecture.
The EPAA will protect NATO European territories and populations, and augment protection of the United States, against increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles from Iran.
The site will consist of a radar deckhouse and associated Aegis command, control, and communications suite. It will house a number of launch modules containing SM-3 interceptors. These interceptors are for defensive purposes only and have no offensive capability. They carry no explosive warheads of any type, and rely on their kinetic energy to collide with and destroy incoming enemy ballistic missile warheads.
American officials reiterated that the system is designed to protect against short and medium-range missiles, and it is not designed to undercut Russia's strategic deterrent. American officials said there was no basis for such a concern, citing the invitation from the United States and NATO for Moscow's participation in a common missile defense system for Europe. The U.S. believes that cooperation on missile defense is in the security interest of both countries, and is the best way to provide Russia transparency and reassurances that missile defense is not a threat to its security.
The Aegis Ashore configuration of the ballistic defense system will be thoroughly tested at a specialized test center at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii in 2014.
The United States looks forward to continuing and enhancing its bilateral relationship with Romania over the coming years and working together to strengthen NATO. Doing so will increase the security and protection of Romania, the United States, and the other NATO allies.