The USS Donald Cook, which arrived at Rota Naval Station, Spain earlier this month, is the first of four ballistic missile defence (BMD) capable destroyers that will be stationed at the base.
In the meantime, the USS Donald Cook will be joined by the USS Ross, USS Porter and USS Carney over the next two years. The destroyers will patrol the Mediterranean on four-month rotations under US command and control, but can be put under NATO operational control if threat conditions warrant.
The ships are capable of tracking and shooting down ballistic missiles in flight, using their Aegis radar system and SM-3 interceptor missiles. These capabilities will make the destroyers a key component of NATO’s missile defence shield for Europe.
NATO Channel TV has produced this video to explain more about NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence capability.
Press Release, February 27, 2014; Image: Wikimedia