Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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

On August 29, in Prague, German Chancellor Olaf Sholz announced the launch of an initiative centered around Germany for the creation 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) , jointly signed a declaration of intent aimed at giving birth to the “European Sky Shield” program. This undeniable success for Berlin will probably make it possible to considerably strengthen anti-air 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 rely 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-range and very long-range ballistic threats. long range, is a component having a major role in terms of deterrence, without being composed or countered by the use of nuclear weapons. As such, the deployment of NATO's anti-missile shield on the eastern facade of the alliance, with the deployment of an Aegis Ashore system in Romania and another in Poland, had provoked the anger of the Russians at the time. , and played a significant role in hardening postures on both sides in the area of ​​deterrence. In other words, by taking control of this strategic component of the Defense of the Old Continent, Berlin succeeded where France had failed, largely due to Germany , by proposing to extend French deterrence to certain of its European neighbors in 2020 .

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 demonstrated infinitely superior 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 matter, Berlin has worked particularly well to strengthen its own positions and take a leadership position that will now be difficult to challenge in terms of European defense. First of all, Germany has, most likely on purpose, avoided including certain European countries in this initiative, in particular France and Italy, although respectively the 2nd and 3rd economies and demographics 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 medium and long range anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems in Europe, with the SAMP/ system. 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 choice of systems, especially since the SAMP/T can replace, on its own, the German IRIS-T SLM and the American Patriot, with superior performance and capabilities to both systems. By inviting Paris or Rome, Berlin would therefore have eroded its own control over the entire system, especially since at the same time, Germany was working to exclude the French MBDA from the European program of EHDI anti-missile defense .

LOGO meta defense 70

The rest of this article is reserved for subscribers -

Classic subscriptions give access to all Flash articles, Analyzes and Syntheses, without advertising , from €1.99.

Premium subscriptions also provide access to articles over two years old in the archive, as well as advanced research tools , and to publish two press releases or job offers per month for free in the Partners section ( + Push social networks / application).

Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

For further


Last articles