Moscow has repeatedly voiced concerns over the deployment of US missile defence system components in Poland and Romania, alleging that the MK-41 interceptor launchers could easily be used to fire offensive nuclear-tipped Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets inside Russia.
Construction of the Aegis Ashore facility in Redzikowo, northern Poland is nearing completion, with US Missile Defence Agency director Vice Adm. Jon Hill carrying out an inspection tour of the facility late last week, Defense Blog has reported.
Hill reportedly inspected multiple sites on the base, including the multipurpose and housing unit, galley, and the inside of the Aegis Ashore deckhouse structure, which contains the system’s command and control system.
Earlier this year, the US’s Government Accountability Office reported numerous delays in the Poland Aegis Ashore facility, estimating that the system would not become operational until at least 18 months after the planned December 2018 date due to missile test failures and problems with local construction contractors.
The Pentagon insists that the Poland and Romania-based Aegis Ashore systems are designed to protect NATO’s European members against enemy ballistic missiles “launched from outside the Euro-Atlantic region.” The system houses multiple launch modules containing Standard Missile-3 interceptors, launched from a land-based version of the Mk-41 vertical launching system (VLS) platform.
However, Russian officials and defence analysts…