20 May 2014
NATO'S Missile Defense Shield Becomes Real
BY Rikki Ellison
Press Release

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance


Kauai, Hawaii - May 20, 2014 -- At 7:30 pm (HST), a missile defense interceptor was successfully launched from a land based Aegis Ashore Site in Barking Sands, Kauai. This Aegis Ashore system is one year away from its full operational deployment in Romania to defend Europe against ballistic missiles. This Aegis Ashore system was developed at a cost of $800 million and is manned by around 100 personnel.

The test tonight proved three important competencies in its deployment to Romania:

  1. The validation of communication from the Aegis Ashore site with constant persistence to the second and third stage of the launched SM3 1B interceptor in its guidance for a correct path towards the target.
  2. The validation of the accuracy of a "launch on remote" above ground interceptor site that is much further away from the Aegis Ashore site than it would be if the interceptors were on a Aegis BMD ship.
  3. The validation of the increased safety measures for the surrounding area and Pacific Missile Range Facility for the requirements of this interceptor and system to launch from an Aegis Ashore land based site.

The Aegis BMD system has had 28 successful test intercepts over the past 11 years, making it more reliable and capable than any other regional missile defense system deployed today. Placing the system on ground at a fixed site enhances its 24/7 persistence, accuracy and communication, further increasing the interceptors' capability to carry out their mission. Moreover, being dedicated to the singular mission of missile defense permits the full use of its processing power, as opposed to sharing that power for multiple missions that a ship would be required to do.  Finally, having "launch on remote" above ground interceptors exponentially increases quantitative and qualitative capability that would be limited on current Aegis Ballistic Missile Ship platforms performing this same mission.

This system holds great promise for the future. Integrated air and missile interceptors of all types and ranges both in space and in air for above ground land-based,  "launch on remote" format could be placed in other regions around the world such as Japan and in the U.S. National Capital Region to deter a regional threat from the air and space breathing ballistic or non ballistic missiles and platforms such as cruise missiles and UAVs.

As it deploys to Romania next year and to Poland in 2018, Aegis Ashore is a tremendous and critical asset for NATO to pursue its collective resolve to protect and defend Europe.

Global Network