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Installation of American weapon system starts in northern Poland

The American Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced in a statement that the installation of the Aegis weapons system has started at the base in Redzikowo, near Słupsk, northern Poland. The system, which includes rockets with kinetic missiles, has been successfully tested, and the base has also installed radar and elements of the fire control system.

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The MDA said the Aegis weapons system, which had previously been stored in the base warehouse, had been “unpacked” in February and had undergone “integrated functional tests” of missile defence in March. In May, however, four elements of the SPY-1D (V) radar and the target finder of the fire control system were installed.

“This illustrates the US’ commitment to the installation of Aegis Ashore in Poland to provide ballistic defence for Europe,” the release said.

On Tuesday, the head of the MDA, Vice Admiral Jon Hill, spoke about the progress in construction in Redzikowo. explaining the reasons for the multiple delays in the construction of the base, which was originally supposed to be put into use in 2018.

“We introduced a lot of building automation on the military construction side, and it was tough. That was what really slowed us down,” Vice Adm. Hill told a conference at the CSIS think tank. As he added, work at the base is ongoing, but the COVID-19 pandemic was an additional factor slowing it down.

“The restrictions in Europe are really, really tough. But the great thing we have done in the last month is we put up four radar antennas and put in a fire control system, so it looks like it was already finished a few years ago,” he said, adding that the situation on the ground is good.

The MDA said the base would be put into operation “not earlier than in 2022.”

The base in Redzikowo is the last element of the American anti-missile defence system in Europe, EPAA, designed to intercept ballistic missiles from “outside the Euro-Atlantic area.” It is based on the Aegis system, which includes the SM-3 interceptor missiles, which do not have explosives but are kinetically destructive.

The EPAA consists of a radar located in Turkey, a command base in Germany, destroyers stationed in Europe with the naval version of the Aegis system, and the Aegis ground component in Deveselu, Romania. The base in Redzikowo is to be the second ground element of the system.

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