Ballistic missile defence system arrives in Romania

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At the request of NATO, the United States has deployed a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery – a missile defence system built to intercept incoming ballistic missiles – to the Naval Support Facility Deveselu, Romania, to supplement the existing system during maintenance.

THAAD will help provide Ballistic Missile Defence to NATO Allies from Naval Support Facility Deveselu while Aegis Ashore, the primary Ballistic Missile Defence system, undergoes necessary software upgrades.

The scheduled update is part of the United States European Phased Adaptive Approach to ballistic missile defence, which was announced in September 2009.

Colonel Thomas E. Moore (photo), Commander, 174th U.S Air Defense Artillery Brigade said: “I think it is very important. The reality is NATO has requested us to be here, the Secretary of Defense approved the mission. We are here to supplement the Aegis while they are conducting maintenance and it allows us the opportunity to continue to strengthen partnerships with our NATO Allies and friends at this point. We’ve developed a really good working relationship. There is nothing that provoked the upgrade other than just the requirement to upgrade our programme. If you had a telephone in 1970, you would probably have had the exact same telephone in 1985, but if you have a telephone in 2010, you won’t have the same telephone in 2015. So simply, it is a requirement to upgrade the software and the hardware elements of it. So it’s absolutely routine. The THAAD system and Aegis systems both are purely defensive systems. There is no switch that would allow them to become offensive weapons systems. So it is ballistic missile defence only is the role that they are here.”

In his turn, Colonel Razvan Bratulescu, Commander, Romanian 99th Military Base stated:  “We have already established procedures to cooperate together on a daily basis. We do this, we train our soldiers together, they work together every day on different points on base, so not too many differences. It is very important for Romania to have this system installed here. It is also Romania’s and United States’ contribution to the NATO ballistic missile defence system, as we all know. It increases the level of security of Romania so everybody, I think, is aware of this, of its importance.

In April this year, Russia received information from the US concerning the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Romania.

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