Missile defense chief ‘confident’ Poland’s Aegis Ashore ready in 2023

MDA Director Visits Aegis Ashore site in Poland

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

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

Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said that the Aegis equipment was installed at the system’s site in Poland and is now undergoing system testing, an important step for a program that’s been delayed for four years.

“We’re in a great place to get to that delivery to complete in ‘23,” Hill said on a Defense News webcast recorded 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’s a key element of 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 is supposed to work in combination with the Aegis Ashore in Romania, which has been operational since 2016. The Poland site was originally scheduled to come online in 2018, but was hampered by construction delays.

During the webcast, Hill said that the Aegis radar arrays were installed in the last year to serve as a “forcing function” for the completion of the interior of the facility.

“Last time I was out there, it looked like a complete site because once we got the radars up, it looked done. But when you walked inside, that’s where you could 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 the equipment was still working and completed some obsolescence upgrades. Now that all the Aegis equipment is installed, Hill said the system is undergoing system testing to make sure that it actually works.

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

In 2020, Hill told reporters that the majority 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 feed a combat system.”

In March, Defense News reported that the Poland site was nearing the end of construction. 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 that Navy sailors are now living in the facilities there.

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

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