DEVESELU , Romania, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has established a support facility in Romania as part of NATO's overall ballistic missile defense system.
The Naval Support Facility in Deveselu. Romania, was officially established earlier this month during an establishment and assumption of command ceremony.
It will become operational next year, the Navy said.
"This is a historic occasion because ballistic missile threats to the U.S. and our allies are real and growing," said Rear Adm. John Scorby, commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia. "Fortunately, NATO's capabilities and defenses against these threats are also real and growing."
The missile defense shield for Europe, called Aegis Ashore, was originally proposed by then-President George W. Bush and is now is part of the U.S. plan for a phased deployment of a missile defense umbrella in Europe for defense against ballistic missiles.
The system being established uses nearly the same technology used on U.S. Navy Aegis-capable guided-missile destroyers and cruisers for detecting, tracking and destroying in-coming missiles.
The Navy said NSF Deveselu will utilize both a SM-3 missile interceptor battery platform and an Aegis SPY-1 radar platform. The SM-3 missiles will have no offensive capability and only target incoming ballistic missiles launched by hostile countries.
"Naval Support Facility Deveselu will be a crucial component in expanding the effectiveness of NATO's overall ballistic missile defense system," Scorby said. "It will also address the threat posed by short and intermediate range ballistic missiles to U.S., European and Allied personnel and assets throughout the region."
A facility similar to that in Romania is planned for Poland. Currently the Navy plans for a total of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be based in Spain to bolster the ballistic missile defense system for Europe.
NSF Deveselu is about 430 acres in size at a former Romanian military base. It will feature a fire-control radar deckhouse with an associated Aegis command, control and communications suite.
Its SM-3 missiles and launch modules and be manned by U.S. military personnel. U.S. government civilians and support contractors will also be located at the facility.