The United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) stated that the Aegis Ashore missile defense system had so far been stored in a warehouse in the military base at Redzikowo in northern Poland. The system was ‘unpacked’ in February and had undergone anti-missile integrated functionality tests in March. In May, four elements of the SPY-1D(V) radar were installed alongside a target designator, which is a part of the fire control system.
“The installation of the Aegis Ashore weapon system in Poland has begun. The Missile Defense Agency recently reached the critical stages of installing the Aegis weapons system at its facility in Redzikowo in Poland,” MDA said in a statement.
“These accomplishments continue to illustrate the United States’s engagement with installing Aegis Ashore in Poland to ensure ballistic missile defense for Poland,” the MDA added.
On Tuesday, the head of the MDA, Vice Admiral John Hill, spoke about the progress being made in the system’s installation. He explained the main reasons for the numerous delays in its construction, which was initially meant to be completed in 2018.
“One of the big lessons learned during my short amount of time here looking at Poland was that we put a lot of the building automation into the military construction side, and that’s tough and that’s really what has slowed us down there,” he said during a conference of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank.
“The restrictions in Europe are really, really tough. But the great thing that we did over the last month was we raised the four radar arrays, and we put the fire-control director on the deckhouse. So, it always looked like it was a finished site a couple of years ago,” he stated and added that the on-site situation was good.
MDA also stated that the base in Redzikowo will not be put into service until 2022.
Anti-missile defense system in Europe
The Redzikowo base is the last element of the American European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) anti-missile defense system in Europe. The system is meant to intercept ballistic missiles originating from beyond the Euro-Atlantic region. It is based on the Aegis Ashore system which possesses SM-3 interceptor missiles which do not contain explosives, but kinetic missiles meant to destroy the target.
The EPAA consists of a radar located in Turkey, a command center in Germany, destroyers stationed in Europe which possess a naval version of Aegis, and the land component of Aegis in Devesel in Romania. The base in Redzikowo is meant to be the second land element of the system.
Title image: Deckhouse of MDA Aegis Ashore weapon system, source: Wikipedia.