It’s been more than four years since the administra- tion of President Barack Obama announced an ini- tiative for a “phased, adaptive approach for missile
defense in Europe,” and, today, the movement is shifting into high gear.
Construction is under way on the first of two missile defense sites in Europe, the first in Romania and
the second in Poland. In the meantime, the U.S. Navy
has begun sending destroyers to Rota, Spain, to act as
a sort of interim defense shield as the effort progresses.
At the heart of the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA)
is the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System,
which is installed on destroyers and cruisers and will
be adapted for land use at the Romania and Poland
sites. The first Aegis Ashore site in Romania is scheduled to begin operations in 2015 and the site in Poland
should stand up in 2018, according to Richard Lehner,
spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer
(DDG) USS Donald Cook arrived at Rota Feb. 11 as the
first of four DDGs that will be stationed there to provide
missile defense under the PAA plan, according to the
Navy. Joining Donald Cook later will be USS Ross, USS
Porter and USS Carney.
The Navy said in a statement
that the ships will perform a “
myriad of tasks, including NATO missile defense, the full spectrum of
maritime security operations, bilateral and multilateral training
exercises, and NATO operations
Ross will arrive in Rota later this
year, with Carney and Porter set to
arrive in 2015.
The move is part of a four-phased, decade-long process culminating in 2020 with the completion
of the Aegis Ashore sites and the
deployment of the more advanced
With Aegis BMD-equipped destroyers holding down
the fort for now, the Missile Defense Agency is focusing
its work on completing the Aegis Ashore sites in time.
The agency already has built the Aegis Ashore Missile
Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) at the Pacific
Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, a key part of
the second phase of the PAA.
In March 2013, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems
Training, Moorestown, N.J., received a $70.7 million contract modification from the Missile Defense Agency for
the installation, integration and test of the Aegis Ashore
Missile Defense System at the Pacific Missile Range facility and at the Host Nation 1 facility in Deveselu,
Romania. The modification brought the total value of the
contact thus far on the program for Lockheed Martin to
In January, the Navy and Lockheed Martin conducted
several simulated intercept tests using the AAMDTC site
as well as a test site in New Jersey and the Romania site,
which had its first live BMD tracking event.
As far as the technical challenge of taking an Aegis
BMD system meant for ships and turning it into a per-
Readying to Launch
After years of preparation, first Aegis Ashore
system is almost ready to head to Romania
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent
Work in Progress
Construction is under way on the first of two Aegis Ashore missile
defense sites in Europe as part of the U.S. Phased Adaptive
Approach (PAA) for missile defense in Europe.
■ The first Aegis Ashore site in Romania is scheduled to begin
operations in 2015.
■ The site in Poland should stand up in 2018.
■ Meanwhile, USS Donald Cook has arrived at Rota, Spain, the
first of four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that will be stationed
there to provide missile defense under the PAA plan.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 18 SEAPOWER / MARCH 2014