NATO completes Aegis defense system upgrade in Romania

Aug. 9 (UPI) — NATO announced the completion of its ballistic missile defense system in Romania on Friday, prompting a response from Russia.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, temporarily deployed to Romania’s Deveselu air base while the upgrades were made, will be dismantled and deployed elsewhere, NATO said in a statement.

The new Aegis Ashore installation will track potential threats from non-NATO countries.

Russia has shown concern over the capability of U.S. missile systems in Europe systems to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles. Although firing those missiles is banned under Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the United States formally left the treaty on Aug. 2.

Reports have noted that Russia’s defensive response to the Aegis system, known as Poliment-Redut, is defective and reports suggest the ongoing delays with the commissioning of the frigate Admiral Gorshkov concern the ships’ defense and missile systems.

The Poliment system has four phased array antennas to track 16 targets at the same time, while the Redut system features four or eight vertical launch systems which can launch an assortment of missiles that have a range of about 93 miles. Trials have been stopped because the long-range missiles fail after three seconds of flight.

In response to the Aegis Ashore system in Romania, Russia in March deployed squadrons of bombers to the Crimea area, according to Viktor Bondarev, head of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security.

“The deployment of American missile defense systems in Romania came as a major challenge, in response to which the Russian Defense Ministry made the decision to deploy long-range missile-carrying bombers Tupolev Tu-22M23 at the Gvardeyskoye airbase [in Russian-annexed Crimea]. This move has drastically changed the balance of forces in the region,” Bondarev said at the time.

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