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US Navy acceptance of Aegis Ashore in Poland expected this year, GAO reports

The US Navy is expected to accept the Aegis Ashore facility by the end of 2023. (US Navy)

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is expected to confirm the Aegis Ashore site in Poland “safe and technically capable”, and the US Navy (USN) is expected to accept the facility this year, according to US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released on 18 May.

The GAO report Missile Defense: Annual Goals Unmet for Deliveries and Testing also cited other recent milestones for the delayed programme.

“Aegis Light Off occurred in June 2022, which signifies the initial powering up of the weapon system to observe if all integrated systems are operational,” according to the GAO report.

“The programme completed physical installation of the system and demonstrated it in October 2022.”

The GAO also noted that delivery of the Aegis Ashore system to Poland was originally planned for fiscal year (FY) 2018, but that construction challenges delayed delivery. Total projected costs increased by 12%, including additional costs for retaining engineering and security services during the delays.

“MDA officials stated there are no known technical risks,” the GAO said.

Aegis Ashore is a land-based version of Aegis ballistic missile defence (BMD). One site in Hawaii serves as a test facility. Another site in Romania has been operational since May 2016 and provides regional defence.

The MDA and the US have a plan to transfer operational control for some portions of Aegis BMD. “In general, the MDA and the navy both have development and support responsibilities for Aegis BMD according to a memorandum of agreement,” the GAO said.

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