Deveselu Base, Romania
The US activated the $800 million (700 million euro) missile defense site in southern Romania on 12 May 2016, a move that infuriated Moscow. "Both the US and NATO have made it clear the system is not designed for or capable of undermining Russia's strategic deterrence capability," US assistant secretary of state Frank Rose told a news conference in Bucharest. "Russia has repeatedly raised concerns that the U.S. and NATO defense are directed against Russia and represent a threat to its strategic nuclear deterrent. Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.
Rose instead cited Iran as the targeted threat. "Iran continues to develop, test and deploy a full range of ballistic missile capabilities and those capabilities are increasing in range and accuracy," he said.
Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, chairman of the State Duma's defense committee, called the missile defense site a threat to Russia. "This is a direct threat to us,'' Komoyedov, the former commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, told the Interfax news agency. "They are moving to the firing line. This is not just 100; it's 200, 300, 1,000 percent aimed against us. This is not about Iran, but about Russia with its nuclear capabilities,'' he said.
Russia's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said by deploying Mk-41 launchers capable of firing intermediate-range missiles at Aegis Ashore bases, the US is seriously undermines the agreements under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces [INF] Treaty."
The new Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system at Romania’s Deveselu airbase came online 18 December 2015, as the US Navy took control of the site after years of construction. Washington and Bucharest announced the pre-operational phase of the first ground-based Aegis Ashore anti-missile site at Deveselu airbase at an official ceremony. That means all the major components of the missile defense system, including the missiles, are in place, and have been handed over to military commanders. However, the system cannot be formally called “operational” until spring 2016 as it needs to be fully integrated into NATO’s ballistic missile defense system, a move championed by Obama administration.
The US assumed control of the missile-intercepting defense base in southern Romania 10 October 2014 as part of a new NATO missile shield in a move that has unsettled Russia as NATO bolsters its presence in Europe. “This is an historic occasion,” said NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow during the inauguration ceremony at the Deveselu military base, south Romania.
“The facility here in Deveselu will be a crucial component in building up NATO’s overall ballistic missile defense system,” Vershbow said, reported Stars and Stripes. “By the end of 2015 this base will be operational and integrated into the overall NATO system.” Romania’s Deveselu will host the base, which was previously a disused Romanian airfield, and it will come into operation in 2015 as part of NATO's overall ballistic missile defense (BMD) system.
On October 29, 2013 Romania and the United States inaugurated a military site that will be part of the NATO missile defense system that protects Europe from attack. Russia vigorously opposed having a U.S. missile system so close to its borders, and Moscow is sure to retaliate.
The United States and Romania jointly selected the Deveselu Air Base near Caracal, Romania, to host a U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System which employs the SM-3 interceptor (also referred to as the “Aegis Ashore System”). The deployment to Romania is anticipated to occur in the 2015 timeframe as part of the second phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) – the U.S. national contribution to a NATO missile defense architecture. The EPAA will provide protection of NATO European territories and populations, and augment protection of the United States, against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles from the Middle East. At the November 2010 NATO Summit, the Alliance welcomed the EPAA as a U.S. national contribution to the NATO missile defense capability.
American officials reiterated that the system is designed to protect against short and medium-range missiles, and it is not designed to undercut Russia's strategic deterrent. American officials said there was no basis for such a concern, citing the invitation from the United States and NATO for Moscow's participation in a common missile defense system for Europe. The U.S. believes that cooperation on missile defense is in the security interest of both countries, and is the best way to provide Russia transparency and reassurances that missile defense is not a threat to its security.
The site will consist of a radar deckhouse and associated Aegis command, control, and communications suite. Separately, it will house a number of launch modules containing SM-3 interceptors. Personnel can live and work safely near the Aegis radar system. The United States has safely operated the Aegis Radar Test site in Moorestown, New Jersey for over 30 years without any danger to people or the environment. SM-3 interceptors are for defensive purposes only and have no offensive capability. They carry no explosive warheads of any type, and rely on their kinetic energy to collide with and destroy incoming enemy ballistic missile warheads. The Aegis Ashore configuration of the ballistic missile defense system will be thoroughly tested at a specialized test center at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Hawaii starting in 2014.
The U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense site is approximately 430 acres (175 hectares) and is located within the existing Romanian Air Base at Deveselu. An estimated 200 military, government civilians, and support contractors will be required to operate the U.S. facility at the site. SM-3 Interceptors based in Romania will not be used for flight tests, and will be launched only in defense against an actual attack. The risk of damage or injury from an intercept and debris are small and pose little threat to people and property. The alternative (allowing a threat warhead to impact its target) likely would result in far more severe consequences.
At the semiannual joint committee meeting June 29, 2012, Sebastian Hulaban, State Secretary for Defense Policy and Planning in the Romanian Ministry of Defense, and Major General Mark O. Schissler, Director, Plans and Policy, at Headquarters U.S. European Command, signed two implementing arrangements and three amendments to existing implementing arrangements related to the construction and operation of the planned missile defense facility in Deveselu.
One implementing arrangement is for the use of land areas surrounding Deveselu Base, which is located near Caracal, Romania. The other implementing arrangement is for the use of airspace over Deveselu Base. The two governments also signed three amendments to existing implementing arrangements regarding security, real estate and the functioning of the joint committee. Each of these implementing arrangements supports Phase II of the European Phased Adaptive Approach.
U.S. NAVSUPPFAC, Deveselu, Romania was establishes June 12, 2013 per the U.S. and Romanian Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement signed in September 2011. The facility supports the U.S. Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System Romania established in 2012. Host nation notification is not required for this action as it was publicly announced by the two governments in 2011.
The AEGIS ASHORE Navy Facilities and Infrastructure encompasses approximately 80 hectares (198 acres) and is the location of the non-mission support facilities. The project, awarded July 9, 2013 to Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc, consists of the necessary facilities to support an operational Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) in Deveselu, Romania. The facilities will include a two story combined barracks/dining facility including morale welfare space, administration space, and recreation functions, a public works facility, a general purpose warehouse, a medical facility, a lift station and an access control facility. The barracks/dining facility will include Sustainable design principles and be LEED Gold. The other facilities include sustainable design principles. Pavement facilities include asphalt roadways, concrete drives, parking and an outer control road. Site preparation includes contaminated soil clean-up. The project includes a complete Access Control Point and boundary fencing.
Supporting facilities include: electrical services; water; sewer; paving; walks; storm drainage; fire protection and alarm systems; site improvements; telecommunication and information management systems. Access for handicapped will be provided. Temporary facilities will support construction oversight and equipment installation. An Electronic Security System is also required. Temporary facilities, mob/demob includes provisions for a construction man-camp based upon the remote rural location of Deveselu and the non-availability of skilled workers may be necessary to construct a highly technical missile defense site.
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