The European interceptor site will host up to ten silo-based long-range interceptors located in central Europe (2011-2013). On February 2, 2008 Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, said his country had agreed in principle to allow a U.S. missile defense system in the country.
In July 2007 Warsaw and Washington were reported to have determined the location of the future U.S. missile base in Poland and were to announce their decision in the near future. The location on the technical level had already decided, and there were a few issues, including the size of the base and manning levels for the site, were still being discussed. The Polish government never confirmed it, but the likely site for the base is Redzikowo Airport a disused airstrip in Slupsk near the Baltic Sea coast.
Ten interceptors proposed to be based in Poland. These ground-based interceptors, nearly identical to those in Alaska and California, would be housed in underground silos in an interceptor field about the size of a football field. As with the interceptors based in Alaska and California, these interceptors are designed only for defensive purposes and employ small hit-to-kill vehicles (weighing about 75 kilograms) instead of explosives to destroy their targets at collision speeds in excess of 7 km per second and at more than 200 km above the earth's surface.
The interceptors planned for Poland are nearly identical to the three-stage interceptors based in the U.S. except that they are a two-stage variant that is quicker, lighter, and better suited for the engagement ranges and timelines for Europe. The silos that house the ground-based interceptors have substantially smaller dimensions (e.g., diameter and length) than those used for offensive missiles, such as the U.S. Minuteman III ICBM. Any modification would require extensive, lengthy, and costly changes that would be clearly visible to any observer.
The ground-based interceptors are comprised of a booster vehicle and an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV). Upon launch, the booster flies to a projected intercept point and releases the EKV which then uses on-board sensors (with assistance from ground-based assets) to acquire the target ballistic missile. The EKV performs final discrimination and steers itself to collide with the enemy warhead, destroying it by the sheer kinetic force of impact.
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