MASSY, France, May 17 (UPI) -- Ballistic missile defense for NATO countries will be a major topic of discussion at the NATO summit next week in Chicago.
U.S. Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, said the United States will announce the interim operational capability of a system to protect members from missile attack.
ThalesRaytheonSystems, which has headquarters in France, this week had an announcement of its own on ballistic missile defense: It has delivered a key component -- an integrated command-and-control center for an interim BMD system to the NATO Air Command Center in Germany.
The component was the result of a contract awarded to TRS in January by the NATO Air Command and Control System Management Agency on behalf of the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense Program.
TRS also touted the company's BMD operational achievements at a recent NATO air and missile defense exercise, AMDEX, that included the connection of the Ballistic Missile Defense Operations Center at Air Command Ramstein to NATO Command and Control units, sensors, weapons systems across NATO nations and to U.S. ships.
"I am very proud of the fact that we have delivered BMD capabilities for territorial protection in such a short timeframe and that the operational community is satisfied with the results," TRS quoted Alessandro Pera, ALTMBD program manager, as saying.
"TRS' experience in deploying Air C4I and sensor systems around the world demonstrates our expertise to build and develop systems, with our customers, that can address evolving threats including territorial missile defense and theater missile defense command and control capability; a top threat facing NATO and a focus at the forthcoming NATO Chicago Summit," said Jack Harrington, chief executive officer at ThalesRaytheonSystems.
"As the world's first fully integrated command-and-control system and largest air operations system of its kind, NATO ACCS developed by TRS is currently under test by multiple nations and plays a key role in NATO's BMD infrastructure."
At AMDEX, ACCS also demonstrated the real-time ballistic missile engagement monitoring under development as part of NATO's ALTBMD Program. The monitoring will later transition to NATO's primary Command and Control system for BMD engagements. The ACCS allows for common training by NATO militaries, standard operational procedures and centralized maintenance.
Stavridis disclosed the impending announcement with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.
He said the first phase of BMD relies on existing missile defense systems to counter short- and medium-range BMD threats. Phase 1 consists of Aegis ships with ballistic missile defense capabilities and the command-and-control system in Ramstein.
Turkey, he said, agreed to host a land-based early warning radar system in Kurecik, which will be combined with NATO's command-and-control system.
"Those three elements come together to provide us with an initial capability to provide some level of defense of Europe against a threat emanating from the Middle East," Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, Eucom's deputy director for plans, policy and strategy, told American Forces Press Service.
"That was our most significant ballistic missile defense achievement in 2011."