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 German anti missile shield infographic
Graphic shows the IRIS -T SLM German air defence system.


Germany plans €17 billion anti-missile shield

By Duncan Mil

February 3, 2023 - Germany plans to build a multi-layered missile shield, deploying IRIS-T anti-missiles manufactured by Bavarian-based Diehl Defence, Israeli Arrow 3 and U.S. Patriot systems.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government is talking with multiple defence manufacturers to pro­cure air defence capabilities that could cost €17 billion ($18.5 billion).

The German defence ministry has earmarked eight Diehl IRIS-T anti-missile systems costing €2 billion to €3 billion, Arrow 3 systems manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, costing up to €4 billion and the U.S.-made Patriot system, on which Berlin could spend as much as €10 billion, Bloomberg reported.

Germany aims to integrate the missiles into the planned European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI).

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, efforts to build a better air defence system in Germany had made little progress due to years of austerity measures and a lack of will to prioritise and invest. The Bundeswehr could only protect an area roughly the size of Berlin, mainly with its short-range Ozelot surface-to-air weapon systems.

As part of ESSI, the IRIS-T can hit targets up to 40 kilometres away and reach an altitude of 20,000 metres. The U.S. Patriot system has a reach of around 100km. The Arrow 3 interceptor, co-developed by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries, is intended to intercept ballistic missiles at altitudes of over 100km and with a reported range of up to 2,400km.

The ESSI programme was first announced by Scholz in a speech in Prague in August 2022. Last October, 14 NATO allies and Finland signed a letter of intent to join the programme.

PUBLISHED: 03/02/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Diehl BGT Defence