Why is the German European anti-aircraft shield a terrible failure for France?

On August 29, in Prague, the German Chancellor Olaf Sholz announced the launch of an initiative centered around Germany for the constitution of an anti-aircraft shield in Europe. It took less than two months for German diplomacy to give substance to this initiative. Indeed, on October 13, Germany as well as 14 other European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom, Slovakia and Slovenia) , have jointly signed a declaration of intent aimed at giving birth to the “European Sky Shield” programme. This undeniable success of Berlin will probably make it possible to considerably strengthen anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense capabilities in Eastern and Northern Europe. But it is, above all, a huge snub addressed to France and its President Emmanuel Macron.

Indeed, a shield such as that envisaged by Berlin, which will be based on a coordinated multi-layer defense based on the medium-range anti-aircraft system IRIS-T SLM developed by the German Diehl, the anti-aircraft system and long-range American Patriot anti-missile system effective in particular against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, and an exo-atmospheric anti-missile system such as the Israeli Arrow 3 or the American Aegis Ashore to deal with long and very long range, is a component with a major role in terms of deterrence, without being composed or countered by the use of nuclear weapons. As such, the deployment of the NATO anti-missile shield on the eastern side of the alliance, with the deployment of an Aegis Ashore system in Romania and another in Poland, had provoked the anger of the Russians in its time. , and played a non-negligible role in the hardening of postures on both sides in the field of deterrence. In other words, by taking control of this strategic component of La Défense on the old continent, Berlin succeeded where France had failed, largely due to Germany, riding a proposing to extend French deterrence to some of its European neighbors in 2020.

MDA AEGIS ASHORE Germany | Military Alliances | Defense Analysis
The Aegis Ashore exo-atmospheric anti-ballistic missile system and the SM3 missile are larger and more expensive than the Arrow 3, and are not mobile. On the other hand, they have an infinitely superior demonstrated operational reliability, increased performance and benefit from two sites installed in Europe in Poland and Romania within the framework of NATO.

It must be said that in this dossier, Berlin has done a particularly good job of strengthening its own positions and taking a position of leadership that will henceforth be difficult to contest in terms of European defence. First of all, Germany has, very probably intentionally, avoided including certain European countries in this initiative, in particular France and Italy, yet respectively the 2nd and 3rd economies and demography of the EU. On the one hand, it was obviously essential for Berlin to exclude these two countries since they have the only European offer in terms of anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems at medium and long range in Europe, with the SAMP/ T Mamba and the Aster 15/30/Block1NT missile. The presence of Rome and/or Paris would thus have considerably thwarted German hegemony, particularly in terms of the choice of systems, especially since the SAMP/T can replace, on its own, the German IRIS-T SLM and the American Patriot, with performance and capabilities superior to those two systems. By inviting Paris or Rome, Berlin would therefore have eroded its own grip on the whole system, especially since at the same time, Germany has been at work to exclude the French MBDA from the European anti-missile defense program EHDI.


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