Russian airstrikes against Ukrainian cities continue; therefore, 14 NATO countries and Finland have formed an air defense alliance called the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI).

The initiative, which Germany is leading, aims to establish a European air and missile defense system “through the shared acquisition of air defense equipment and missiles by European nations,” as stated in an announcement by NATO on Thursday.

Reuters quote German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht as saying, “With this initiative, we are living up to our common responsibility for security in Europe — by bundling our resources.” Fourteen countries signed the initiative at NATO’s Brussels headquarters.

According to a NATO press release, the effort will allow the member states to work together to create an interoperable, commercially available air defense system.

NATO stated, “This multinational and multifunctional strategy offers a flexible and scalable means for nations to bolster their deterrence and defense efficiently and cost-effectively.”

According to a NATO press release, the effort will allow the member states to work together to create an interoperable, commercially available air defense system.

NATO stated, “This multinational and multifunctional strategy offers a flexible and scalable means for nations to bolster their deterrence and defense efficiently and cost-effectively.”

In a news briefing after the signing ceremony, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană said ESSI “aims to enable European allies to buy these much-needed assets better and faster and to optimize their costs.”

It facilitates cooperation between countries with complementary air and missile defense needs. It’s important that they can communicate and work together and connect with NATO’s air and missile defense.

That initiative may seek Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system and the U.S. -made Patriot and German IRIS-T SLM air defense system, among the options, to create a layered integrated air defense system, Lambrecht said on Thursday.

She told reporters, “We will move quickly on the first cooperative initiatives, one of which is the combined acquisition of Patriot units as well as of the contemporary system IRIS-T. Ukraine received the first of the four IRIS-T SLM systems that Germany had promised earlier this week.

In addition to giving nations participating in the project a longer-range capability against classic “air-breathing” threats like fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and even drones, Patriots might give those nations a strong power to defend crucial locations from ballistic missile assaults.

Patriot was built to achieve this, especially in later generations, particularly against shorter-range ballistic missiles. Although no air or missile defense system will ever be completely effective, it might significantly lessen the harm that Russia’s missiles can cause.

The Patriot system has been crucial in reducing the effectiveness of, for example, the Houthi rebels in Yemen’s relentless missile barrages on important locations in Saudi Arabia.

According to Reuters, the ESSI will also examine the purchase of short-range systems meant to cover smaller areas or military convoys and long-range systems meant to defend against ballistic missile threats like the Arrow 3 made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

Since 2008, the United States government has provided substantial funding and other support to IAI and Boeing as they develop Arrow 3. This assistance has covered the initial stages of research and testing and ongoing efforts like live-fire trials in Alaska.

When Israel first put the Arrow 3 into service in January 2017, it intercepted a stray Syrian surface-to-air missile a few months later.

The Arrow 3 can intercept and destroy any ballistic missile, including the most destructive intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), even if they are traveling at extraordinarily high altitudes and speeds.

Targeting ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere adds a degree of protection when dealing with weapons that could be carrying nuclear warheads or perhaps lethal or chemical payloads.

The Arrow 3 can intercept and destroy any ballistic missile, including the most destructive intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), even if they are traveling at extraordinarily high altitudes and speeds.

Targeting ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere adds a degree of protection when dealing with weapons that could be transporting nuclear warheads or perhaps lethal or chemical payloads.

Arrow 3s major function in Israeli service is to protect the country from Iranian ballistic missile attacks. Elta’s L-band Green Pine AESA radars are also a part of the system and are responsible for target acquisition.

The inclusion of Green Pine in the proposed German Arrow 3 contract is unknown; nevertheless, the system can be used in conjunction with other sensor systems, such as the United States AN/TPY-2 missile defense radar and even space-based early warning satellites, to form a wider missile defense network.

Lambrecht wants to buy the Arrow 3 system for superior air defense and has called for expedited ESSI development.

Reuters quoted Lambrecht saying, “We need to fill these holes rapidly; we are living in threatening, dangerous times.”

She remarked, “No decision has been decided yet, but I think it (Arrow 3) would be the correct system…that it would be a very good system for the European problem.

At this time, it’s unclear whether Israel will sell air defense systems to the ESSI (which includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, and the United Kingdom). Still, we don’t see any major reasons why it wouldn’t.

Russian strikes against Ukrainian cities began on Monday in retaliation for Saturday’s attack on the Kerch Bridge; on Thursday, more Ukrainian cities were targeted, prompting the ESSI announcement. Ukrainian officials report that more than 20 people have been murdered and more than 100 injured due to these attacks.

Russia’s vicious and indiscriminate missile attacks against Ukraine have killed civilians and damaged vital infrastructure, making this pledge all the more important.

For this reason, I applaud the initiative taken by Germany to establish the European Sky Shield,” Geoană stated.

Since Finland has not yet been accepted into NATO, it is uncertain how quickly the ESSI will make its initial acquisitions or how it would fit into the mutual protection criteria specified in Article 5 of the NATO charter.

 

Source: TheDrive.com