“We tested it, and then unbolted it, brought it across
on a ship, and erected it in a wheat field in Deveselu,”
“This odd-shaped deckhouse building is filled with
the latest technologically and highlights the adaptive
part of European Phased Adaptive Approach [EPAA],”
The EPAA is the U.S. contribution to NATO BMD.
Its purpose is to protect European NATO allies, and
U.S. deployed forces in the region, against current and
emerging ballistic threats from the Middle East. EPAA
is being implemented in phases in order to be adaptable and flexible, and to include evolving BMD technology to counter the growing BMD threat.
In addition to Aegis Ashore, the NATO BMD architecture includes the Transportable Radar Surveillance
System in Turkey; a command-and-control network
operated from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, by the
603rd Air and Space Operations Center; and the BMD-capable destroyers forward deployed to Rota, Spain.
The Aegis Combat System was developed in the 1970s
to defend ships and battle groups against air, surface and
subsurface threats. The Aegis system has been updated
many times since the lead ship, the guided-missile cruiser USS Ticonderoga, was commissioned in 1983.
Aegis Ashore incorporates the Navy’s proven and flexible Aegis BMD capability — the latest Baseline 9 version
— with its SPY- 1 radar, multimission signal processor,
Mk 41 Vertical Launch System, and command, control
and communications processors. It also has the capability
to launch the Standard Missile- 3 Block IA, Block IB, and,
beginning in 2018, the Standard Missile- 3 Block IIA.
There are differences, of course. It does not move, and
it is not surrounded by the sea and its harsh environment.
The launchers are not located fore and aft of the deck
house, as on a ship, but are some distance away.
But even though it is not sailing, it has the same
ship’s gyro system, so the system can receive the
required heading input. The masts and antennas are
located in the same place topside because those positions have already been proven to work, so re-engineering locations was not needed.
Working on the equipment is not limited by the
cramped confines of a surface combatant — so there is
more room to access and maintain the equipment —
something the technicians appreciate.
While ships can be moved, and be placed in a specific location along a ballistic missile threat axis, they
cannot stay there indefinitely.
“Aegis Ashore provides fixed and continuous operation
— 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,”
said William Blair, Raytheon’s vice president of business
development for Air and Missile Defense Systems.
“A ship may pull into port, but the Aegis Ashore facility never goes off duty,” said Capt. Jeff Wolstenholme,
who has command of Task Force 64, responsible for the
Navy’s afloat and ashore BMD mission in the theater.
A second Aegis Ashore site is being established at
the Redzikowo Base in Gmina Słupsk, Poland, which
should be operational in 2018
Capt. Jim Craycraft, the NSF commanding officer, is
responsible for the host nation military engagement,
community relations, security, utilities, facilities, housing
and food service in support of the “Fleet, Fighter, Family.”
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016
The first Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System, seen here after a mid-January snowfall, is up and running at U.S. Naval
Support Facility (NSF) Deveselu, Romania. NSF Deveselu is the first overseas naval base to be established in decades
and sits on the runway of a former Soviet bloc air base. A second site is being established in Poland.