29 May 2013
Aegis Ashore coming to Europe, Hawaii & more
The Next Big Piece
From Riki Ellison
Chairman & Founder
Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance
MDAA Alert


Dear Members and Friends,

On both sides of the world, the United States has committed to three forward deployed land-based platforms that can organically track and defeat ballistic missiles in space. The platforms will be deployed in Hawaii, Romania, and Poland and will have capabilities to protect large portions of Europe and, if required, the state of Hawaii from ballistic missiles. These three persistent platforms will supplement and bear some of the current missions required of the United States Navy and the 36 planned United States Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships enabling these ships to perform their multiple missions. These three missile defense platforms have been directed by the President of the United States to help defend and protect Europe from the ballistic missile threat of Iran which is projected to have an initial capability to strike Europe and the United States by 2015 at the earliest.

The first platform is a testing one currently being built at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii and will be operational next year for the demonstration, validation, and testing of the comparable platforms going to Europe. The second platform is scheduled to be fully operational in Deveselu, Romania in 2015, it is currently being built in Moorestown, New Jersey. The third platform that is also being built in Moorestown, New Jersey will follow the Romania platform and will be deployed to Redzikowo, Poland in 2018.

This forward deployed land-based system is called Aegis Ashore. Aegis Ashore will have an initial capability of the SM-3 Block IB interceptors that recently executed a successful test this month and the newest 5.0 Aegis processor that can attain and defend against raids and salvos of multiple incoming ballistic missiles. The Aegis Ashore site in Poland, that will be functional by 2018, will bring forward the newest interceptor that is being co-developed with Japan, the SM-3 Block IIA, which has much more of an extensive range and capability than the SM-3 Block IB. All of the Aegis Ashore sites will have the capability to use the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missiles. Aegis Ashore has an estimated cost of 750 million dollars a system and requires a manning of 50 United States sailors and officers for each system deployed.

The Aegis Ashore sites in Europe will be linked into shared information from other United States and NATO European sensors including Aegis BMD ships and currently forward based United States AN/TYP-2 Radars in Turkey and Israel. Future capability with Aegis Ashore, as well as Aegis BMD ships, will rely on engage on remote and launch on remote capabilities from forward based as well as ship based sensors to extend their ranges and defenses of the vast areas of protection and populations. The Aegis Ashore system, like its similar system on Aegis ships, will have deployed capability to intercept in space but unlike the Aegis BMD ships it will not have nor will it be allowed to have the capability to intercept in the atmosphere. Thus, these two Aegis Ashore sites, in Europe, will rely on our NATO partners for their layered terminal defense in the atmosphere for the defense of Europe from Iran as outlined in President Obama's policy of the European Phased Adaptive Approach. The French, the Germans, and the Dutch have terminal phased missile defense battalions that can provide land-based force protection inside the atmosphere for Europe. The United States has one Air Defense Artillery Patriot 3 Battalion 5-7 and the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command located in Europe, their focus is for the direct support of Israel and commanding the United States Patriot 3 Batteries in Turkey.

The European Aegis Ashore sites will be brought into the NATO BMD 603rd Air Combat Operations out of Ramstein, Germany for the integrated ballistic missile defense architecture that will use the best deployed NATO shooters with the best deployed NATO sensors in defeating incoming ballistic missiles to Europe. The Aegis Ashore sites along with four United States Aegis BMD ships home ported in Rota, Spain will be the corner stone of the protection of Europe from Iran, North Africa, and the Middle East. These Aegis Ashore sites do not have the vertical boost velocities and speed capabilities to defeat ICBM missiles launched from either North Korea or Iran towards the United States, however the Aegis Ashore site in Hawaii will have capability to defeat incoming missiles to Hawaii. The first Aegis Ashore deployment in Romania with its SM-3 Block IB interceptors in 2015 will be able to defend parts of southern Europe but not all of Europe. The second deployment to Poland in 2018 with its SM3-Block IIA interceptors along with these same interceptor missiles in the Romania Aegis Ashore Site will be able to defend most of Europe but will still require additional U.S. Aegis BMD Ships with SM3-Block IIA interceptors in European waters to defend all of Europe.

Aegis Ashore will be a core component platform of the global missile defense architecture. Its future locations will look to further expand to foreign nations such as Japan who would seek relief for their Aegis BMD Kongo Class ships in persistent defense of their nation from North Korea. The current planned European Aegis Ashore sites remain limited for self-force protection without using their full capability in integrating the SM-2 air breathing missile defense interceptors that can defeat air breathing threats from missiles to aircrafts.

The Russian sensitivities and influence on NATO in regards to the deployment of these two Aegis Ashore sites in Europe have constrained capability and Russia has asked the United States to limit the interceptor speeds. The United States has self-withdrawn earlier this year, a planned faster interceptor missile for the Aegis Ashore sites in Europe around the 2020 timeframe, the SM-3 Block IIB that was hoped to provide additional protection of the United States from Europe. Neither the Aegis Ashore sites in Poland, Romania, or Hawaii with the SM3-Block IIA or the cancelled SM-3 Block IIB interceptors have the speeds to defeat Russian ICBM missiles used in their deterrence of the mutual assured destruction (MAD) of the United States.

The most effective and efficient use of these Aegis Ashore systems to defend and protect is to have them unconstrained and as capable as the United States Aegis BMD Ships that they duplicate. For this system to expand and be a critical part of the global missile defense architecture it will need to be unconstrained in its missile defense capability, be able to engage off of forward remote sensors and consider its manning as a land-based platform to the United States Army rather than the United States Navy.

Global Network