Romania will have an advanced missile system enabling it to defend the Black Sea coast from enemy ships, an official said.
The Black Sea has seen frequent and close confrontation between Russian and Western military forces in recent weeks.
In a major incident in late June, Russia said one of its warships fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs to force a British destroyer out of an area near Crimea that Moscow claims as its territorial waters.
London denied that account and insisted its ship wasn’t fired upon.
In May, Romania’s government signed an agreement with the U.S. Navy worth $286 million to purchase the Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense System, or NSM CDS.
Sea skim mode
NSM is able to fly over and around landmasses, travel in sea skim mode and make random maneuvers at the end, making it harder to stop by counter measures by the enemy.
„It is extremely difficult for the NSM missile to be identified by a radar”, Mike Ellison, a business development leader at Raytheon Missiles & Defense for Eastern Europe said in an interview with Hotnews.ro.
„The Naval Strike Missile is a long-range, high-precision missile that has the ability to find and destroy enemy ships at distances of more than 100 nautical miles, or about 185 km,” he said.
The agreement between Romania and the U.S., formally referred to as a Letter of Offer and Acceptance, makes NATO member Romania the first country to purchase the system via the U.S. government’s foreign military sales program.
NSM, a long-range precision missile that strikes heavily defended land and sea targets, will arm Romania with a 5th-generation anti-ship and land-attack cruise missile, a news release said.
The NSM missile avoids detection by radars or enemy defense systems because it can fly at very low altitudes, at sea level, and can perform evasive maneuvers.
„Naval Strike Missile is a state-of-the-art anti-ship cruise missile with an unparalleled ability to hit maritime targets. We are talking about a very maneuverable missile with a design that makes it almost invisible, able to fly very close to the surface of the sea and to operate at distances of over 100 nautical miles” Mr Ellison said.
The defense ministry said it aimed to acquire the systems by 2024.
NSM CDS was developed by Norwegian defense company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to meet the requirements of the Royal Norwegian Navy to arm its frigates and coastal corvettes.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense teamed with Kongsberg to offer the missile to U.S. and international partners. In 2018, the U.S. Navy selected NSM for its over-the-horizon defense of littoral combat ships and Constellation class frigates.
The foreign military sales program, or FMS, is the same process Romania used to procure the combat-proven Patriot air and missile defense system.