Austria and Switzerland want to join the European Sky Shield German anti-aircraft defense initiative

The European Sky Shield initiative, unveiled by Olaf Scholz in August 2022 during a speech at the University of Prague, aims to pool the anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic defense resources and information of all its members, so as to strengthen their response capabilities in the face of these threats, which have been brought back to the forefront of concerns since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

This immediately attracted a large number of European countries. Besides Germany, 14 other European countries joined the initiative as soon as it was launched: Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom, Slovakia and Slovenia.

However, two of the key players in anti-aircraft capabilities in Europe, France and Italy, the originators of the SAMP/T Mamba system and the Aster family of anti-aircraft missiles, were absent from this list.

Indeed, Berlin had built this program on the basis of 3 complementary systems: the IRIS-T SLM with short and medium range of German origin, the American Patriot PAC with medium and long range and endowed with anti-ballistic capabilities at short range, as well as the Israeli Arrow 3 system for exo-atmospheric interception.

the Franco-Italian SAMP/T Mamba system would have its place within the European Sky Shield as a European alternative to the American Patriot PAC3
the Franco-Italian SAMP/T Mamba system is a European alternative to the American Patriot PAC3

Of course, for Paris and Rome, the exclusion of the Mamba, and more generally of other European systems such as the very short-range Mistral missile, or the short-range MICA VL, represented a powerful repellent and in a way, a betrayal of the efforts undertaken towards European strategic autonomy, favoring American and Israeli systems while European alternatives exist.

However, this posture, as well as the reservations that one may have as to the usefulness of the Arrow 3 system in this device while Russia does not have vectors within reach of the Israeli system optimized to counter Iranian missiles, does not seem to deter other European countries from joining this initiative, including some non-aligned ones.


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