US activates missile shield base in Romania
The United States has activated a land-based missile defence station named Aegis Ashore Missile Defence System in Deveselu, Romania as a part of NATO’s larger European shield to protect member countries from short and medium-range missiles, particularly from the Middle East.
The installation of the missile shield in Romania sparked off fresh tensions with Russia which sees it as a security threat. However U.S. has insisted that the shield is directed against rogue states like Iran and not intended to target Moscow's missiles.
It should be noted that relations between the West and Russia have deteriorated since Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's southern Crimea peninsula in 2014 sparking fears among other eastern European countries that they too could be the targets of Russian aggression.
Missile shield base
⇒ The Deveselu site will host a battery of SM-2 missile interceptors. The US is believed to have spent $800m on the site in Romania, where work had began in 2013.
⇒ The facility will be manned by approximately 130 U.S. sailors. The Romania installation is the first land-based defensive missile launcher in Europe and will be integrated into Nato's missile shield when the bloc meets this summer.
How missile defence system works ?
⇒ The defence system allows on-shore sites and warships to knock down enemy ballistic missiles while they are still in space. The system uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets.
⇒ The interceptor missiles are fired to hit ballistic missiles before they re-enter the atmosphere, stopping them well before there is any danger of causing any damage.
Background : The missile defence station in Romania is part of the Article Five commitment by all 28 Nato members, under which they decided in 2010 to create a missile shield based on US technology. The next phase of the project, which is due to be completed in 2020, will launch similar project in Poland at Redzikowo, near the Baltic Sea.