NATO to Deploy SM-3 Missiles in Romania

Romanian Defense Minister Mircea Dusa announced that Romania will deploy elements of the NATO missile shield deployed at a military base in Deveselu by the end of 2015.

The SM-3 missile interceptor will be deployed for defensive purposes.

SM-3 Missiles evolution. Courtesy of Raytheon
SM-3 Missiles evolution. Courtesy of Raytheon.

In 2013, Romania and the United States signed a bilateral agreement on the deployment of SM-3 missiles at the military base in Deveselu, Romania.

“We both emphasized the need for the solidarity of the Alliance in terms of security in the region. I pointed out that Romania is an oasis of stability,” Dusa told Romanian media.

According to Raytheon: “SM-3® is a defensive weapon used by the U.S. Navy to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. This ‘hit-to-kill’ missile interceptor uses an exoatmospheric “kill vehicle,” to collide with targets in space, a capability that’s been likened to hitting a bullet with a bullet. The massive collision of the kill vehicle hitting its target obliterates the threat completely; explosives are not necessary. The resulting impact is the equivalent of a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph.”

The deployment of the SM-3 missiles in Romania was planned before the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Moscow see the deployment of the interceptor missiles as a threat to its national security. However, NATO and the United States claims that its missiles are deployed to intercept small missiles coming from country such as Iran and its not directed at Moscow.

Amidst the undergoing tensions in Eastern Ukraine, the deployment of the SM-3 missiles in Romania comes at a time where NATO believes Russia is planning a spring offensive in Ukraine. Although NATO claims the SM-3 missiles are for defensive purposes and not aimed at Russia, I believe the deployment in Romania offers NATO an option to counter Russian missiles.

Since Romania shares a border with Ukraine and Moldova, where Russian troops are stationed in Transnistria, the deployment of SM-3 missiles is a perfect strategic location to intercept Russian missiles. Nevertheless, I don’t think Russia will fires its missiles at NATO countries anytime soon.

I don’t believe the deployment of SM-3 missiles is to intercept small missiles coming from Iran. If Iran was to fire missiles against the West, Turkey—a member of NATO—could intercept the missiles before it even reach Europe.

The SM-3 missiles in Romania is most likely another move to bring NATO weapons closer to Russia. Although Romania doesn’t share a border with Russia, its location enables them to intercept missiles fired from Transnistria and Crimea.

Romania will receive its SM-3 missiles by the end of 2015.



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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.