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Germany-led group of NATO members to jointly procure air defence systems

Germany and more than a dozen NATO partners aim to jointly procure air defence systems that protect allied territory from missiles, eyeing Israel’s Arrow 3 system, US Patriot and German IRIS-T units among the options, Berlin announced on Thursday.

“With this initiative, we are living up to our joint responsibility for security in Europe – by bundling our resources,” German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said during a ceremony at NATO’s Brussels headquarters where 14 countries signed a letter of intent.

Estonia was not present at the event but will also be part of the initiative, dubbed “European Sky Shield”. In total it comprises half of NATO’s members – including Germany, Britain, Slovakia, Norway, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia.

Ground-based air defence systems such as Raytheon’s Patriot units or the more recently developed IRIS-T are in short supply in many Western nations, which were reluctant to invest too much money in military capabilities after the end of the Cold War.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has cast a spotlight on the shortage, as Kyiv scrambles to acquire as many air defence units as it can to protect cities and critical infrastructures from Russian air attacks.

Ms Lambrecht said countries were seeking to quickly move on the first deals.

CICA summit in Kazakhstan
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin arrived in Kazakhstan to attend meetings of several regional bodies.

This was to the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) alongside a number of Asian leaders, including Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


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