Naval Support Facility (NSF) Redzikowo, the site of the second Aegis Ashore missile defense system, was officially commissioned on Sept. 3.
This ceremony marked the turnover of the base’s newly finished support facilities from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as the entity in charge of construction to the Navy.
NSF Redzikowo was first established in 2016 as the first U.S. installation in Poland. It features an Aegis Ashore system that has been delayed numerous times due to construction issues. The Navy says it is estimated to be operational no earlier than fiscal year 2022.
“In the years to come, Redzikowo will play a critical role in the defense of Europe, as an important operational asset. And in the Navy’s tradition, this is why we chose not to simply dedicate this installation, but to commission it … to man our ‘ship’ and bring it to life,” Rear Adm. Scott Gray, commander of Navy Region Europe, Africa, Central, said as he presided over the ceremony.
The new features of the facility include administrative offices, a multi-purpose facility with housing and dining facility, a security and public works buildings, general purpose warehouse, fore station, and athletic facilities.
The Navy operates NSF Redzikowo in conjunction with the Polish Force Protection Battalion. It is at a former military and civilian airfield 225 miles northwest from Warsaw.
The previous initial European Aegis Ashore is at Naval Support Facility Deveselu, Romania, which was established in 2014. That system reached operational certification in 2016 after a series of tests.
In May 2016, ground was broken for NSF Redzikowo, which was then formally established in November 2016.
Once completed, the Aegis Ashore site in Poland will feature a fire-control radar “deckhouse” similar to what would be on a destroyer with an associated Aegis command, control and communications suite. It will also house several launch modules filled with Standard Missile-3 interceptor missiles, identical to the Romania site.
The Aegis Ashore sites are part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to help NATO missile defense efforts. It became active in 2011 when the first Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke-class destroyers were deployed to Naval Station Rota, Spain, and a forward-based TPY-2 radar was deployed in Turkey.
Last month, Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said military construction at NSF Redzikowo was close to completion, with the Aegis system already onsite, awaiting installation. He said the site was about 90 percent complete in military construction after delays from previous issues as well as pandemic “fall backs” (Defense Daily, Aug. 4).
NSF Redzikowo and its Aegis Ashore system was expected to be delivered by the end of 2019, but military construction issued pushed it back to 2020. However, during the FY ’21 budget request briefing, Hill explained the MDA is seeking another $96 million to finish the site and expects it to be ready in 2022 (Defense Daily, Feb. 12).
Hill said problems have included components like auxiliary controls, heating, power, cooking, and things that feed a combat system.