Monday, March 4, 2024

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

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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 the all of its members, so as to strengthen their response capacities in the face of these threats which have been brought to the forefront of concerns since the start of the war in Ukraine.

This immediately appealed to a large number of European countries. In addition to Germany, 14 other European countries joined the initiative from its launch: Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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However, two of the key players in anti-aircraft capabilities in Europe, France and Italy behind 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 equipped with short-range anti-ballistic capabilities. 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

Obviously, 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 certain way, a betrayal of efforts undertaken towards European strategic autonomy , by favoring American and Israeli systems when European alternatives exist.

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

LOGO meta defense 70 Anti-aircraft defense | Germany | Military alliances

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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.

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