Germany orders Israeli Arrow 3 rockets for its Sky Shield air defense system | DW News

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The Sky Shield air defense system initiated by Germany intends to bolster NATO's protective capacity over Europe. The invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops has brought war back to Europe — and thrown the defensive capabilities of NATO and Europe into the spotlight. Now, rearmament efforts are underway and new defense strategies are being prepared. This includes protection against possible Russian missile attacks in case the war over Ukraine escalates and other European countries could come into confrontation with Moscow.

However, NATO's protective shield for Europe has some holes. The air defense system, which Germany launched last October, is intended to close them. At that time, on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels, 15 countries signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a European air defense system. Along with Germany, the signatories were: Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, the UK, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Later, Denmark, Sweeden, Austria and Switzerland also joined the initiative.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democrat party (SPD), spoke of an "increase in safety for all of Europe," and argued that a European air defense system would cost less and be more effective than if every individual country set up their own expensive and complex systems. However, France, Italy and Poland are yet to join the initiative. Paris criticized that technology from the US and Israel would be purchased for the project.

The goal of the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) is to achieve the most well-coordinated defense system against short, medium and long-range threats from the air. On its website, the German Defense Ministry defined short-range as up to 15 kilometers (9 miles) in distance across land and 6 kilometers in altitude. The medium range is 15-50 kilometers wide and up to 25 kilometers high. Long-range is more than 50 kilometers wide and up to 35 kilometers in altitude.


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