Poland’s ‘confident’ missile defense chief Aegis Ashore ready by 2023

MDA Director Visits Aegis Ashore site in Poland

The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) site in Poland is nearing the final stages of construction at Naval Support Facility (NSF) Redzikowo, the Navy’s newest facility. (Lt. Amy Forsythe/US Navy)

SMD 2022 —Missile Defense Agency now has “very high confidence” that the long-delayed Aegis Ashore system in Poland will deliver an operational system by 2023.

Vice Admiral Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said the Aegis team had been installed at the system site in Poland and was now undergoing system testing, an important step for a program that is four years behind schedule.

“We’re in a great place to get to that delivery to complete ’23,” Hill said in a Defense News webcast taped during the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Ala.

Aegis Ashore is a land-based missile defense component of MDA’s missile defense system. It is a key element in completing the European Phased Adaptive Approach, the US military’s contribution to NATO’s missile defense, designed to protect Europe from Iranian short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The Poland Aegis site should operate in combination with the Aegis Ashore in Romania, which has been operational since 2016. The Poland site was scheduled to become operational in 2018, but was hampered by construction delays.

During the webcast, Hill said the Aegis radar arrays were installed in the last year to serve as an “enforcement function” for the completion of the facility’s interior.

“The last time I was there, it looked like a full place because once we got the radars, it looked done. But when you walked in, that’s where you can see … we weren’t there yet,” Hill said. “And now we’re there.”

MDA also removed the Aegis equipment from storage and completed end-to-end checks to verify that the equipment was still operational and completed some obsolescence upgrades. Now that all the Aegis equipment is in place, Hill said the system is undergoing system testing to make sure it actually works.

“What we need to do is make sure that we can capture signals that go all the way through the radar, that the fire control system can do its job and signal to a launcher,” Hill said. “So now we’re going through that.”

In 2020, Hill told reporters that most of the Aegis base was complete, but construction delays were due to contractor issues with the “auxiliary controls, you know, heating, power, cooling, the things that fuel a combat system.”

In March, Defense News reported that the Poland site was nearing the end of constructionn. MDA has worked in coordination with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the construction contractor to finalize the construction site. Speaking on the webcast, Hill said Navy sailors now live in facilities there.

“We’re very confident about where we are in construction,” Hill said.

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