The United States of America and Romania today signed an agreement which will allow the placement and construction of a ballistic missile defence system in the Eastern European country. The land-based interceptor missile system will be integrated with existing Romanian air force systems by 2015.
The US State Department described the deal as a deepening of the ''bilateral strategic relationship'' between the countries and said greater cooperation in this area would add to NATO's ''collective security'' and defence.
The missile defence programme, the US says, will provide protection for NATO's European areas and would ''augment'' US defence.
The plan has come under fire from Russia which objects on the grounds that a single shield should be used instead of the two planned for Romania and Poland.
The State Department says that the Aegis missile defence system, which is to be deployed in Romania by 2015, has been found successful in 22 of 27 flight tests since 2007.
The US will build and maintain the interceptor facility in Romania.