Germany plans to build a multi-layered missile shield, deploying IRIS-T anti-missiles manufactured by Bavarian-based Diehl Defense, Israeli Arrow 3, and U.S. Patriot systems.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government is talking with multiple defense manufacturers to procure air defense capabilities that could cost €17 billion ($18.5 billion).
The German defense 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 defense system in Germany had made little progress due to years of austerity measures and a lack of will to prioritize 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 kilometers away and reach an altitude of 20,000 meters. 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 program 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 program.