NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

01 Jun. 2010

NATO expands theatre missile defence test facility

Programme on track to deliver capability in 2010

On 1 June, NATO formally opened an expanded theatre missile defence test facility, keeping the programme on track for delivering this year a capability to protect deployed Alliance forces from ballistic missile attacks.

The facility, hosted at the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) facilities in Den Haag, has been upgraded to house new prototypes, and will play a key role in major tests scheduled for July.  This will begin the last round of major tests and experiments, prior to the first operational capability being handed over to NATO’s commanders.

Advanced capabilities

This updated infrastructure is significant, representing more advanced capabilities being tested for inclusion in NATO’s theatre missile defence capability,” said Brigadier General Alessandro Pera, head of NATO’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme.

The state-of-the-art facility, first opened in 2008, tests the designs for a NATO system that will allow European and US missile defence technologies to work together as part of a NATO ‘theatre missile defence’ system.

“The test bed is the linchpin of the project,” said Dave Kiefer, Deputy Director of the Programme “It allows us to determine whether we actually can get the different components to work together, and work together rapidly enough to counter ballistic missile attacks.”

The updated infrastructure provides space for additional prototypes and also allows an improved capability to view test execution without disturbing test operations.

Once operational, the ALTBMD capability will be used to protect forces against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. It will also complement NATO’s current capability against aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other aerial threats.

Media interested in access to the facility should contact Michal Olejarnik, e-mail: michal.olejarnik@nc3a.nato.int, tel.: 0032 475 90 70 40.