Bundestag releases billions
Green light for new German air defense
06/14/2023, 06:16 p.m
The traffic light wants to spend a total of five billion euros on modern air defense systems. The money comes from the special fund of the Bundeswehr. However, the Court of Auditors finds Defense Minister Pistorius’ brisk pace too high.
The specialist politicians in the Bundestag have cleared the way for the billion-euro project of modernizing Germany’s air defense system. The Budget Committee and the Defense Committee voted to purchase the long-range Israeli Arrow 3 system and the German IRIS-T air defense system, which works at close range. Both projects are to be financed from the 100 billion special fund. It is estimated that costs of almost four billion euros must be budgeted for Arrow 3 and almost one billion euros for IRIS-T.
Formally, the budget committee provided the first financing steps. When it comes to air defense, Germany is entering “a new era,” said Defense Committee chairwoman Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann. IRIS-T SLM shows in Ukraine what it means to be able to save thousands of lives. “In combination with the purchase of the Israeli Arrow 3 system, Germany will live up to its military responsibilities in the future and say goodbye to the naive belief that nothing will happen,” said the FDP politician.
Arrow 3 and IRIS-T to close “capability gap”.
The Israeli system Arrow 3 is to become part of a European air defense system on Germany’s initiative. It is currently the highest tier of Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense system and can destroy attacking weapon systems up to 100+ kilometers above the atmosphere in early space. It is intended to be part of a rebuilding of the air defense that was scaled back after the end of the Cold War. “The Arrow 3 guided missile is intended to destroy long-range enemy missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere with a direct hit,” the draft resolution reads.
The system consists of command and control command post, radar devices, launch devices and the guided missiles and is intended to contribute “to the protection of Germany, the population and critical infrastructure against ballistic missiles in the upper interception layer” and is described as “an essential contribution to missile defense in the alliance”. A government agreement on the purchase is expected to be reached by the end of 2023. The Department of Defense wants to pick up the pace and is willing to pre-contract manufacturing steps to enable “initial capability” by the fourth quarter of 2025.
The planned purchase of IRIS-T, which is already being used successfully in Ukraine against Russian attacks, is also part of the reconstruction of an efficient air defense system. The system is intended to “close an existing capability gap in the area of ground-based air defense by strengthening close-range protection,” the draft says. It is planned to purchase six fire units of the IRIS-T SLM (“Surface Launched Medium Range”) air defense system.
Federal Court of Auditors criticizes avoidable cost risks
The “Tagesspiegel” reported that the Federal Court of Auditors accuses the Ministry of Defense of accepting avoidable risks when procuring Arrow for a “very ambitious schedule”. He complains that Germany is financing the early production of complex components with 560 million euros so that the system can be delivered for commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2025. “There is a high risk that the schedule will still be missed if the required infrastructure is not ready on time.” The Court of Auditors therefore expects lengthy construction work.
The deputy spokesman for budgetary policy for the SPD parliamentary group, Andreas Schwarz, said: “At Arrow we are doing a certain amount of advance work until the contract has been negotiated. This ensures that we will already have the systems on German soil by 2025.” That is the new pace that Defense Minister Boris Pistorius promised in the armaments sector. Black welcomed the decisions.
The Green Housekeeper Sebastian Schäfer explained that the large gaps in air defense must be closed as quickly as possible. “That’s why we are now breaking new ground in procurement. The defense administration is required to create the conditions for the operational capability of the systems through the rapid implementation of infrastructure measures,” he demanded. The FDP budget politician Karsten Klein said that both projects are a contribution to the development of a protective shield in Germany: “Reliable defense against drones and missiles is essential for effective air defense.”