The US is about to activate the missile shield in Poland
The Aegis Ashore complex in Poland during construction in 2019. Photo: US Navy

Polish officials announced that the US Aegis Ashore missile shield in the country will be activated starting December 15.

“The US side announced that the missile shield in Redzikowo will reach operational readiness on December 15,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told lawmakers on December 11 before leaving his seat because he could not pass a vote of confidence in parliament.

The plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore complex in the village of Redzikowo, about 250 km from the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, was announced in 2009. The US military plans to deploy 24 SM-3 long-range interceptor missiles and a number of other systems air defense systems in this area.

This is one of two Aegis Ashore shields deployed by Washington in Europe, in addition to the complex that has been operating in Romania since 2016. US and Russian officials have not commented on Mr. Morawiecki’s statement.

Aegis Ashore is the ground version of the Aegis missile defense system on warships. This complex component is similar to the original version but is permanently deployed, which can help defense forces more easily intercept targets.

The Aegis Ashore system uses a Mark 41 vertical launcher equipped with SM-3 missiles with a range of 1,200 km, considered a combination used only for defense and has no offensive capabilities.

NATO officials affirm that the Aegis Ashore complex in Poland and Romania is only defensive, deployed to protect Europe against the threat of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, especially from the Middle East. , and has nothing to do with Russia.

However, Moscow believes that Aegis Ashore is a serious security threat. Russia emphasized that Aegis Ashore still possesses offensive capabilities because the Mark 41 platform can launch many different types of missiles, including Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles with a range of 2,500 km, enough to reach many areas, deep within this country’s territory.

“Do we deploy missiles near the US border? No. It was America that brought missiles to our doorstep,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual press conference in December 2021.