The United States and Romania announced that they recently signed a government-to-government agreement on the deployment of the Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania.

This agreement calls for the establishment and operation of a U.S. land-based SM-3 ballistic missile defense (BMD) system in Romania. The deployment to Romania is anticipated to occur in the 2015 timeframe as part of the second phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). Raytheon [RTN] produces the SM-3 missile.

“The United States welcomes the strong commitment of Romania to join a growing group of allies and partners that are contributing to efforts to counter existing and emerging ballistic missile threats in the Twenty-First Century,” the State Department said in a statement.

This cooperation also will make a “substantial contribution” to NATO security and be an integral part of NATO’s missile defense capability.

In addition to deepening the bilateral strategic relationship between our two countries, cooperation in this area will make a substantial contribution to NATO’s collective security and will be an integral part of a NATO missile defense capability.

The EPAA will provide protection of NATO European territories and populations, including Romania, and augment protection of the United States. This agreement is an important step in our efforts to protect from the growing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles of increasingly greater ranges, lethality, and sophistication, and potentially armed with weapons of mass destruction. The BMD interceptor site in Romania will provide a defensive capability to protect Europe and the United States against ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East.

Upon ratification by the Romanian Parliament and entry into force, the ballistic missile defense agreement will allow the United States to construct, maintain, and operate a facility encompassing the land-based SM-3 ballistic missile defense system.

In May, the United States and Romania jointly selected the Deveselu Air Base near Caracal, Romania, to host a U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System, which employs the SM-3 interceptor, also known as Aegis Ashore. Aegis Ashore is the land-based version of Lockheed Martin‘s [LMT] successful ship-based Aegis BMD.

The 430-acre site located within the existing Romanian Air Base at Deveselu will consist of a radar deckhouse and associated Aegis command, control, and communications suite. About 150 to 200 people will be required to operate the U.S. facility on the base.

Separately, it will house a number of launch modules containing SM-3 interceptors. The United States will be financially responsible for the construction of its facility and for the deployment, operations, and maintenance of its ballistic missile defense system. The United States will also be responsible for those services requested and received, such as utilities.

To allay certain concerns, the State Department said the SM-3 interceptors are for defensive purposes only and have no offensive capability. The missiles carry no explosive warheads of any type, and rely on their kinetic energy to collide with and destroy incoming enemy ballistic missile warheads. The SM-3 Interceptors based in Romania will not be used for flight tests, and will be launched only in defense against an actual attack.