Defense

November 1, 2013

U.S., Romania begin work on Aegis Ashore missile defense complex

Vince Little
Deveselu Air Base, Romania

Top U.S., Romanian and NATO officials broke ground OCt. 28 on a new ballistic missile defense facility being built to boost regional stability and strengthen the alliance’s collective security stance.

The high-profile ceremony signaled the start of construction for the Aegis Ashore complex, the second stage of the three-part European Phased Adaptive Approach to ballistic missile defense.

It follows the September 2011 accord between the United States and Romania to establish a site here for land-based SM-3 interceptors. The U.S. facility is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015.

Romanian President Traian Basescu, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James Miller, Romanian Minister of National Defense Mircea Dusa, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose and Vice Adm. James D. Syring, the Missile Defense Agency director, were among the senior leaders at the groundbreaking event.

“This is a historic occasion,” Vershbow told the audience. “Missile threats to alliance territory and populations are real and growing. NATO’s defense against these threats must be real, too. And it must be able to grow and adapt as the threat evolves. That’s the approach we are taking at NATO.”

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District is managing the project. A Romanian contractor, SC Glacial PROD SRL, conducted site-activation work in advance totaling $3.3 million. It constructed temporary facilities on the base, including offices, container housing units, a warehouse and vehicle inspection area. In July, USACE awarded a $134 million contract to KBR Inc., which will cover all construction, security fencing and storage, infrastructure maintenance and support services for Aegis Ashore.

Europe District officials said a contract for the construction of Navy support facilities and infrastructure could be awarded in early 2014.

Col. Peter Helmlinger, the Europe District commander, presented USACE’s traditional groundbreaking plaque to Rear Adm. Jack Scorby, commander of Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia.

“A groundbreaking ceremony symbolizes the partnership among the organizations that will be coordinating on a project,” Helmlinger said. “The No. 1 priority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and chief of engineers is to support (Combatant Commands) and warfighters. … Our role is critical, along with our partners, to ensure the success of this project.”

Officials say the U.S. and its European NATO allies face a growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, particularly from the Middle East. Global trends indicate the systems are becoming more flexible, mobile, durable, reliable and accurate, while also increasing in range.

Regional actors continue to develop long-range missiles that can threaten the U.S. and Europe.

“The facility here in Deveselu will be a crucial component in building up NATO’s overall ballistic missile defense system,” Vershbow said. “This will make the NATO system more robust [and] increase its level of coverage. And it will enhance the level of protection the alliance can provide.”

The European Phased Adaptive Approach allows for flexibility based on technological advances and the evolution of ballistic-missile threats, U.S. defense officials said.

Two years ago, the Phase I completion featured the deployment of Aegis BMD-capable ships in the Mediterranean equipped with SM-3 interceptors, as well as a missile-defense radar based in Turkey. The U.S. is targeting sometime in 2018 for the third phase, which sets up an Aegis Ashore site in Poland.

In addition, Aegis BMD ships will be forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, starting next year. They will be available to support NATO missile-defense capabilities in crisis situations.

“Our commitment to EPAA is ironclad, and I look forward to seeing the completion of the system in the coming years,” Miller said.

The land-based ballistic missile defense capability in Romania will rely on a system almost identical to that used on Navy Aegis-capable guided-missile destroyers and cruisers. It’s designed to detect, track, engage and destroy ballistic missiles in flight.

The BMD facility at Deveselu sits on about 430 acres. The site 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 SM-3 missiles.

“This is a major project, and it will take a concerted effort in the next two years to finish strong,” Helmlinger said. “We need great people to accomplish the project. Teamwork is absolutely essential to accomplish this mission. We all have to work on the common objective of project delivery that produces this facility on time, on budget, transparently and safely. … The Corps of Engineers is committed to delivering state-of-the-art construction projects for our service members worldwide — and especially here in Europe.”

About 200 U.S. military personnel, government civilians and support contractors will be required to operate the Aegis Ashore complex, according to Defense Department estimates.

BMD cooperation helps feed NATO’s mutual security efforts and forms part of a broader response to counter potential dangers, U.S. officials said. The mission’s global nature and demand it places on American forces drive the need to bolster missile-defense relationships and seek burden-sharing arrangements with partners and allies.

“Today’s groundbreaking ceremony is pivotal as we move forward with our ballistic missile defense capability,” Scorby said. “We’ll be working very closely with our Romanian counterparts to ensure they have the proper infrastructure, resources and security to make sure we bring our Aegis Ashore capability to bear. … Geographically speaking, this is a great location to defend against any threats that might be out there.”

Close collaboration will be critical in bringing the Romania project to completion — from the strategic bilateral partners and USACE managers to the contractors carrying out the labor, the admiral said.

“We will all work together toward that common ground of ensuring we have a ballistic missile defense system on time and ready to defend Europe’s interests,” he said.

The placement of Aegis Ashore at Deveselu also represents a major milestone in the deepening strategic bilateral partnership between the U.S. and Romania, Miller said. The two nations served together in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Their armed forces routinely participate in military exercises and engagements as well.

“Romania has evolved into one of our most reliable and steadfast partners … and increasingly, a country that can export security around the world,” the undersecretary added. “We see great potential in further building this relationship.”

Basescu praised his nation’s strong defense bond with the United States but said Monday’s ceremony had a deeper significance for Romanians.

“It means Romania is now integrated into the overall systems of NATO,” he said. “This base will also prove we have the capabilities to protect European and American citizens from the real threat of ballistic missiles. … Today, I have the feeling of a job completed.”

MDA’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System has proven effective through repeated testing. Since January 2002, it’s been successful in 28 of 34 intercept flight tests, according to U.S. officials.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 24, 2014

News: U.S., South Korea delay transfer of wartime control - The U.S. and South Korea have delayed transferring wartime operational control of allied forces by taking on a “conditions-based approach” and scrapping the previously set deadline of 2015.   Business: Exclusive: Lockheed, Pentagon reach $4 billion deal for more F-35 jets - Lockheed Martin and U.S. defense...
 
 

News Briefs October 24, 2014

French moving troops toward Libyan border A top French military official says the country is moving troops toward the Libyan border within weeks and, along with U.S. intelligence, is monitoring al Qaeda arms shipments to Africa’s Sahel region. A French base will go up within weeks in a desert outpost just a hundred kilometers (60...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy to commission submarine North Dakota

Navy photograph The PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) during bravo sea trials. The crew performed exceptionally well on both alpha and bravo sea trials. The submarine North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the first U.S....
 

 

Boeing announces SF Airlines order for Boeing converted freighters

Boeing announced Oct. 23 that SF Airlines has placed an order for an undisclosed number of 767-300ER passenger-to-freighter conversions (Boeing Converted Freighters). SF Airlines, a subsidiary of Shenzhen, China-based delivery services company SF Express, will accept its first redelivered 767 in the second half of 2015. “SF Express aims to become China’s most respected and...
 
 
LM-C130

Another Super Herc Little Rock Rollin’

  Lockheed Martin delivered another C-130J Super Hercules to the 61st Airlift Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Oct. 23. Little Rock AFB’s new C-130J was ferried from the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility ...
 
 

United Technologies beats third quarter profit expectations

United Technologies Corp. Oct. 23 reported third-quarter profit of $1.85 billion as sales increased across all its businesses and the aerospace giant reported favorable tax settlements. The Hartford, Conn.,-based company said it had profit of $2.04 per share and earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to $1.82 per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>