Defense: Germany launches initiative for new air defense

Germany and more than a dozen other countries want to launch a cooperation project to build a better European air defense system this Thursday.

Defense: Germany launches initiative for new air defense

Germany and more than a dozen other countries want to launch a cooperation project to build a better European air defense system this Thursday. The defense ministers of the countries involved are meeting on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels. A declaration of intent on the so-called European Skyshield Initiative (ESSI) is to be signed.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the project at the end of August and spoke of a "security gain for all of Europe". A European air defense is cheaper and more efficient than if everyone builds their own, expensive and highly complex air defense, he said.

Scholz explained at the time that Germany would invest heavily in air defense in the coming years - and in such a way that European neighbors could participate from the start. Back then, he specifically named the Netherlands, Poland, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and partners from Scandinavia.

Project in response to Putin's war

The demand for better air defense for Germany was raised because Russia's attack on Ukraine has changed the threat situation in Europe. The project is therefore also seen as a response to the war, which has now lasted more than half a year.

Germany is currently using the Stinger anti-aircraft missile for closer range and combating aircraft and helicopters, which was also fired into Ukraine for a shoulder launch. The larger Patriot system works at medium distances up to a height of 30 kilometers. Germany still has twelve launch sites - which is far from enough to protect the entire country. When it comes to defending against ballistic missiles that reach great heights on their trajectory, the Bundeswehr is said to have a "capability gap".

One of the probable options for the Bundeswehr is the acquisition of the Israeli Arrow 3 system. This is the highest level of Israel's multi-stage missile defense system and can destroy attacking weapon systems up to 100 kilometers above the atmosphere in the early stages of space. This also increases the area protected on the ground and destroys warheads far from the target.

Information from NATO on the meeting

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