Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense System Ideal for Asia, says US Think Tank
The "Aegis Ashore" ballistic missile defense system currently protecting NATO from Russian and Iranian ballistic missile attacks will be ideal for deployment against North Korean ballistic missiles, argues an American think tank.
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Aegis Ashore is the land-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD or ABMD) that provides missile defense against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
It consists of equipment commonly used by the U.S. Navy being deployed in land-based facilities. This equipment includes SPY-1 radars and a battery of RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) ship-based missiles used by the navy.
Aegis Ashore is the key system in the NATO Missile Defense System, which includes radar systems and missile interceptors deployed to Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic. The U.S. Navy has deployed four Aegis-capable Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers to Spain as part of the ballistic missile defense shield.
Aegis BMD (also known as Sea-Based Midcourse) is designed to intercept ballistic missiles post-boost phase and prior to reentry.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which is based in Washington D.C. and is rated one of the world's best in its field, argues Aegis Ashore could become a model for missile defense against North Korea.
It said Aegis Ashore can protect Japan, Guam and Hawaii because it's adaptable and capable of carrying a mixed load of missiles.
Aegis Ashore "provides layered defense in a box," much like the Aegis Combat System, said Thomas Karako, a CSIS senior fellow.
Karako said Aegis Ashore is already operational and provides regional ballistic missile defense against Iranian missiles from a site in Romania. Aegis Ashore can be teamed-up with other air and low-tier missile defense capabilities such as Patriot to address different kinds of threats.
He noted Romania and Poland already are looking at buying Patriot. The United States is considering sending a Patriot battery later this year for an exercise with Lithuania.