NATO to Operationalize Aegis Ashore at US Naval Support Facility Redzikowo, Poland
NATO to Operationalize Aegis Ashore at US Naval Support Facility Redzikowo, Poland

US European Command to Operationalize Aegis Ashore at Redzikowo, Poland

The Aegis Ashore capability planned for Poland is moving ahead to be operational by the end of next year, said the program executive officer for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense. The Aegis Ashore capability there is expected to be complete by the end of 2022. Already an Aegis Ashore capability is up and running in Deveselu, Romania, about 90 miles from Bucharest. The site, which is under the control of NATO, has been in operation for more than five years now. A site similar to the one in Romania is also planned for Redzikowo, Poland, near the Baltic Sea. But that site has been delayed due to construction issues — though efforts are now underway to get the site operational by the end of next year. The Aegis Combat System was originally designed as a shipboard system to track and destroy incoming enemy targets, but now the system has also been deployed for use on land, as “Aegis Ashore.”

“My part, which is to install the Aegis Weapon System, has been delayed as we work the military construction with our contractors. We are behind, given the original schedule, no question about that. The good news is we’re getting the quality we want for a facility that’s going to be there 50 to 75 years, and we now have the right management in place in order to move ahead and complete this. the Aegis system in Poland was pulled out of storage there and assembled to test it’s operations. We put the whole weapon system together with the exception of the antenna,” said Rear Admiral Tom Druggan during a discussion on Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

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Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) located at Naval Support Facility (NSF) Deveselu, Romania
Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) located at Naval Support Facility (NSF) Deveselu, Romania. (Photo by Lt. Amy Forsythe/U.S. Navy)

A land-based component, Aegis Ashore, also is being developed (pictured). The first site to be declared operational was in Romania in 2016. This consists of equipment commonly used by the Navy being deployed in land-based facilities. This includes SPY-1 radars and a battery of Standard Missile-3s. The Obama administration’s plans call for two sites: the first in Romania at Deveselu that was opened in May 2015 and the second in Poland (planned for 2018, but delayed twice, to 2022). In 2020, both will get the latest versions of the Aegis BMD software and the latest version of the SM-3. Some radar facilities will be placed in Turkey at a future date. On 21 May 2014, Standard Missile completes first test launch from Aegis Ashore test site, the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy, and sailors at the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex and Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), successfully conducted the first flight test involving components of the Aegis Ashore system.

The Aegis Ashore capability in Poland is now being set up as the infrastructure on the ground to support it becomes available. Antennas for the AN/SPY radar system have already been set up. Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense are installing the backbone of the radar behind it. They have installed some command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems. And we’re going to keep installing our pieces in parallel to the commissioning of all the industrial equipment, power, cooling, ventilation, that’s going on, on the construction side. Normally, installing an Aegis system wouldn’t happen until all the supporting construction was complete. The Aegis Ashore site in Poland to be operational by the end of 2022, and at that point the transition of the system can happen first to the Navy, then to U.S. European Command, and finally to NATO.

NATO to Operationalize Aegis Ashore at US Naval Support Facility Redzikowo, Poland
The Aegis Ashore “Deckhouse” command and control center is already in place at the Naval Support Facility Redzikowo, Poland.(Photo by Lt. Amy Forsythe/U.S. Navy)
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