Romania joined NATO in 2004 and plays a central role in the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), which aims to build a continental missile shield to protect Europe.[i]
In 2011, the Romanian Senate adopted the draft law of the Romania-United States Agreement, which allowed the establishment and operation of a US land-based missile defense system in Romania that became active in May of 2016.
Romania holds Aegis Ashore deckhouse which incorporates the Navy’s proven and flexible Aegis BMD capability — the latest Baseline 9 version — with its SPY-1 radar, multimission signal processor, Mk 41 Vertical Launch System, and command, control and communications processors. It also has the capability to launch the Standard Missile-3 Block IA, Block IB, and, beginning in 2018, the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA.[ii]
The Aegis Ashore site is the first of two missile defense shields to be placed in Eastern Europe. The Romanian missile shield will defend Europe against short to intermediate range missile attacks from Middle Eastern threats.
Romania’s Air Defense Capabilities
|SA-2 Guideline||High-altitude air defense||Unknown||Ground-based|
|SA-5 Gammon (S-200)||Medium to high-altitude air defense||Unknown||Ground-based|
|MIM-23 Hawk||Low to medium altitude air defense||Unknown||Ground-based; Road-Mobile|
|CA-95||Short-Range Air Defense||48 Systems||Ground-Based; Road-Mobile|
Russia claims that the Aegis Ashore Site is a threat to its national security, but the United States and Romania maintain that the platform is strictly for defensive purposes. In July 2017, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of U.S. Patriot air and missile defense batteries to Romania, claiming “the proposed sale of the Patriot system will support Romania’s needs for its own self-defense and support NATO defense goals.”[iii]
In November 2017, the government of Romania signed an agreement to purchase Raytheon’s Patriot defense system.[iv] Romania will receive the Patriot Configuration 3+, the most advanced configuration available, as well as an undisclosed quantity of GEM-T and PAC-3 MSE interceptor missiles.
Romania also bought rights from Israel to produce Iron Dome missile defense. The deal, signed in May 2018, will provide Romania with the licensing and training to produce its own air defense systems. [v]