European Skyshield Initiative: Air defence: Project start for new protective screen

Germany has launched a project to build a better European air defense system with more than a dozen other countries.

European Skyshield Initiative: Air defence: Project start for new protective screen

Germany has launched a project to build a better European air defense system with more than a dozen other countries. On Thursday, on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels, Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht and colleagues signed a declaration on the so-called European Sky Shield Initiative. This should help to close existing gaps in the current NATO protective shield for Europe. There are deficits, for example, in the area of ​​ballistic missiles, which reach great heights on their trajectory, but also in the defense against drones and cruise missiles.

The background to the German initiative is above all the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. According to NATO, it has fundamentally changed the security situation in Europe and is therefore making additional efforts in air defense necessary. So far, missile defense in Europe has primarily been aimed at possible threats from Iran.

Among other things, new weapon systems are to be purchased jointly via the European Skyshield Initiative, which together will then cover a large area as cheaply as possible. "In this way we are meeting our joint responsibility for security on our continent," said Lambrecht on Thursday at the start of the project. It is about "achieving political, financial and also technological synergy effects".

According to the SPD politician, 14 other countries have been involved in addition to Germany. Representatives from the UK, Slovakia, Norway, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia attended the signing ceremony on Thursday morning. According to diplomats, Estonia also wants to take part.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the plans for the new initiative at the end of August. He spoke of a "security gain for all of Europe" and argued that European air defense would be cheaper and more efficient than if everyone built their own, expensive and complex air defense.

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. Germany still has twelve launch sites - but this 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 even 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. In addition, the purchase of further Patriot and Iris-T systems is under discussion.

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