ANTWERP, Belgium – USS Monterey (CG 61) hosted 300 multinational dignitaries from NATO as a part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense during a port visit to Antwerp, Belgium, March 29-31.
While aboard, dignitaries were given the opportunity to learn about the ship’s Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capabilities.
“The United States takes this seriously. This ship demonstrates our commitment to what we are doing, and [Monterey] is doing a great job,” said Rear Adm. Archer M. Macy, director of Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization. “This is vital to the United States and its allies to prevent others form trying to coerce them by threatening them with ballistic missiles.”
According to a release from the White House, the U.S. Navy is working with allies on integrating a European Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense architecture with NATO members’ missile defense capabilities, as well as with the emerging NATO command and control network.
“Eighteen months ago, President Obama adopted a new approach to missile defense, when he decided that we need a missile defense that is smarter and swifter than the one the previous administration had in place,” said Ivo H. Daalder, U.S. Ambassador to NATO. “This ship is a part of the first phase of that commitment, to deploy missile defense capability in Europe to help defend our forces in Europe, and our European allies against the threat that already exists today.”
This phased approach is developing the capability to augment the current protection of the United States and Europe against short and medium-range ballistic missile threats.
“We are the first ship to become a part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach of the missile defense mission,” said Capt. James W. Kilby, commanding officer of Monterey. “We went to Belgium to coincide with a NATO convention and they came to visit the ship to view our missile defense capabilities.”
According to the Missile Defense Agency, the first phase consists of Aegis ships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea and a forward-based transportable radar surveillance system in southern Europe. This will help provide protection across much of southern Europe against medium-range ballistic missiles.
Modern U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers perform primarily in a battle force role. The ships are capable of multi-mission support in carrier battle groups, amphibious forces, as flagships of surface action groups or operating independently. Cruisers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles that give them additional long range Strike Warfare capability. Some, like Monterey, have been outfitted with a ballistic missile defense capability.
Monterey, a Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser homeported out of Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.