A U.S. missile defence system aimed at protecting European NATO Allies from ballistic missiles threats was declared operational at a ceremony in Deveselu, Romania on 12th May. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the site “represents a significant increase in the capability to defend European Allies against the proliferation of ballistic missiles from outside the Euro-Atlantic area”.
The installation is designed to detect, track, engage, and destroy ballistic missiles in flight outside the atmosphere. Dubbed “Aegis Ashore”, the base uses technology which is almost identical to that used on U.S. Navy Aegis ships. Responding to concerns raised by Moscow, Stoltenberg underlined that NATO ballistic defence was not directed against Russia.
The site in Deveselu — seen as strengthening Romania’s position in NATO — is part of a larger effort to protect European Allies against ballistic missiles. Other components includes a radar facility in Turkey, four U.S. guided-missile destroyers in Spain and a headquarters in Ramstein, Germany. Denmark and the Netherlands are upgrading their frigates with radar capabilities. The U.S. has also started construction of a second land-based interceptor site in Poland that is due to come online by 2018.
Speaking on the eve of the inauguration, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas E. Lute said that missile defense is "just one element of a spectrum of capabilities" that NATO is developing to deal with emerging threats along "an arc of instability" that extends from NATO's eastern flank to its southeastern region to its southern flank.