Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban called the transfer of the first American Patriot anti-aircraft missile system to the country’s Armed Forces “a historic moment”. In total, Bucharest is to receive seven Patriot batteries, which will be used to cover the missile defense of the Aegis Ashore system, which the United States deployed to Deveselu in 2015. The rearmament of Romania and other countries of Southern Europe is associated with the threat allegedly growing on the eastern flank of NATO. Details – in the material “Izvestia”.
Romania this week undertook the official acceptance procedure for the first battery of the American Patriot anti-aircraft missile system. The ceremony took place on September 17 at the National Air Defense Training Center named after Brigadier General Ion Bunescu of the Romanian Armed Forces in Capu Midia. not far from Constanta.
“I am delighted to be present at the historic moment when the first Patriot missile system hit Romania,” said Prime Minister Ludovic Orban. “Romania has made it clear that it has chosen to be a NATO member, to be a strategic partner of the United States, to be an EU member state.”
In total, Bucharest is to receive seven Patriot batteries. The contract for their supply was signed with the US defense industry corporations a few years ago, the amount of deliveries amounted to almost $ 4 billion. As noted in the blog bmpd to LiveJournal, which conducts policy analysis center, and Technology (CAST), an intergovernmental agreement with the United States on the acquisition of the American line the intergovernmental program of foreign military sales Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of seven batteries of the Patriot PAC-3 + anti-aircraft missile system, Romania signed at the end of 2017.
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Of the seven Patriot PAC-3 + air defense systems, four batteries are intended for the Romanian Air Force, and three more for the Ground Forces. The delivery should include seven AN / MPQ-65 radars, seven AN / MSQ-132 command posts, 28 M903 launchers, 56 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-TBM (GEM-T) anti-aircraft missiles, 168 Patriot Advanced Capabilty anti-missiles -3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE), seven EPP III generators and 13 lifting devices. The general contractors in this contract are Raytheon and Lockheed Martin corporations.
In 2017, Romania entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the United States on the acquisition of seven batteries of the Patriot PAC-3 + anti-aircraft missile system of a new production under the American intergovernmental program of foreign military sales (FMS) for an amount (according to Romanian sources) of about 4 billion dollars, including anti-aircraft missiles PAC-2 GEM-T and PAC-3 MSE. Of the seven Patriot PAC-3 + air defense systems, four batteries are intended for the Romanian Air Force and three for the Romanian ground forces.
Earlier in July 2017, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) sent a notice to the US Congress of the upcoming sale of seven Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems to Romania through the FMS with a total estimated cost of $ 3.9 billion.
According to the notification, seven AN / MPQ-65 radars, seven AN / MSQ-132 command posts, 28 M903 launchers, 56 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-TBM (GEM-T) anti-aircraft missiles (GEM-T), 168 Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles, seven EPP III generators and 13 lifting and mast devices. The general supply contractors are Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
“Patriots” will be used to cover the components of missile defense Aegis Ashore – The United States launched its based Deveselu in 2015, and a year ago it was upgraded (in the report , NATO press-service of the completion of the work highlighted that modernization “did not provide any offensive potential for the missile defense system ”, however, what it consisted in, the North Atlantic Alliance did not begin to tell).
Protect the eastern flank
Even if the American side, fulfilling the contract for the supply of “Patriots” to Romania, pursues its own, and not common European or NATO goals, Romania presents the receipt of new weapons in a national and bloc vein. “The deployment of the first Patriot system is only the first step towards creating serious air defense capabilities for our country, which will make a significant contribution to the consolidation of efforts to contain and defend NATO on its eastern flank,” said Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Chuke.
The fact that the delivery of the Patriots is connected precisely with the threat that the bloc countries see from the east was also stated by the American Ambassador to Bucharest, Adrian Zuckerman. “The delivery of Patriot systems to Romania will allow the country to better protect itself and its NATO allies from threats. Among these threats I will single out Russia and China “, – quotes the words of the diplomat ” Voennoye Obozreniye ” .
As noted by Reuters , the purchase of the Patriot air defense system along with the recently received F-16 fighters by Romania is a step towards the creation of an integrated national air defense system, which Romania is building in the course of “bringing its outdated military equipment to NATO standards and abandoning outdated MiGs from the communist era.” According to the Romanian military expert Claudio Degeratu, the purchase of Patriot “solves a serious problem that the country’s national defense system” has – the problem of equipping the Armed Forces with modern weapons. “We inherited only rocket systems that were produced in the former USSR. Romania has not purchased any similar systems since 1990, ”the specialist said in an interview with Balkan Insight…. According to Degeratu, the delivery of the Patriots should be viewed in the context of Russia’s “accelerated militarization of the Crimean Peninsula” that began after 2014.
In general, Romania, like some other countries of Eastern and Southern Europe, for example Bulgaria, is actively building up military-technical cooperation with Western countries. As the DefenseNews wrote , in July last year, Bucharest announced the purchase of four new corvettes of the Gowind family from the French-Romanian consortium.
In addition, the $ 1.3 billion contract provides for the modernization of two type 22 frigates already in possession of the Romanian Naval Forces, as well as the construction of facilities for the maintenance of ships and a training center. Also, Romania will receive the American HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems, the transfer of equipment to the buyer should begin in 2022.
In addition to re-equipping its allies in Eastern and Southern Europe, the United States may also increase the number of its own military contingents based there. Part of the forces that are being withdrawn from Germany by the decision of President Donald Trump may be transferred to Poland and Romania – the number of the American group there will be reduced by more than 10 thousand people.
As announced on August 8th US Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, “this week we reported on the placement of the command of the Fifth Corps of US Army forces in Poland as part of the redistribution of our forces in Europe.” In addition, in accordance with the instructions of the chief of the Pentagon, Mark Esper, the army intends to “send more forces on a rotational basis to the Black Sea region, in particular to Romania.”
The White House’s decision to reduce the contingent in Germany is linked to Berlin’s reluctance to fork out properly for collective defense within NATO. Bucharest, on the other hand, quite regularly makes its contribution in the form of contributions to the budget of the alliance. “Romania has decided to launch a 10-year Armed Forces funding program that will improve our defense capabilities,” said Prime Minister Orban, writes Romania-Insider . “Through this program, Romania is following its commitment to spend 2% of its GDP on defense spending.”
As noted by Konstantin Bogdanov, senior researcher at IMEMO RAS, Patriot air defense systems supplied to Romania are quite modern systems that “allow solving both the problems of protection against aerodynamic targets at a distance of about 100 km, and the defense of point objects from tactical ballistic missiles.” There is nothing unexpected about the deployment of American Patriots in Poland and Romania.
“Both of these states are support countries, in which the deployment of NATO military contingents is planned during the threatened period,” the expert said in an interview with Izvestia. “For this, there are also bases and warehouses being created, so it is not surprising that NATO has taken care of covering these areas from the air.”
Politically, “the deployment of defensive systems that do not undermine strategic stability does not create any problems,” Bogdanov notes. “The range of these air defense systems in peacetime does not create any difficulties for the Russian military, including those operating in the Crimea region. Of course, when planning hypothetical operations in Romania, these weapons will be taken into account as targets, ”he added.
As the expert of the Russian International Affairs Council Ilya Kramnik clarifies, “Romania receives PAC-3 modification complexes, which are focused on the tasks of both air defense and anti-missile defense.” “Accordingly, they can shoot down both aerodynamic targets, that is, aircraft and cruise missiles, and ballistic targets, that is, short and medium-range ballistic missiles at the end of the trajectory,” he says.
According to Kramnik, Romania and Poland are the largest militarily countries in Eastern Europe. “They were like that in Soviet times, being the supporting members of the Warsaw Pact, respectively, in the northern and southern directions with their own developed military industry,” says the specialist. “There is a clear interest of the United States in these large and powerful enough allies by European standards.”
According to the RIAC expert, on the one hand, Patriot complexes can be used to cover Aegis Ashore. At the same time, he says, this “generally builds up the potential of Poland and Romania, which can be useful in the event of clashes in Europe and beyond, if the United States suddenly wants to use these capabilities in some serious military operation.”
Moscow is likely to react to the deployment of Patriot complexes in Romania. “Such things are never left without attention,” adds the RIAC expert. “Perhaps more attention will be paid to the capabilities of the Black Sea Fleet and the Southern Military District’s aviation in terms of suppressing air defense systems,” Kramnik suggests. “There are appropriate weapons – for example, anti-radar missiles designed to neutralize missile systems and radars.”
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