Berlin (Times Of Ocean)- The German government is considering buying a missile defense system from Israel or the United States to fend off threats such as Russian Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, German weekly Welt am Sonntag reported on Saturday.
Eberhard Zorn, Germany’s chief of defence, told Welt am Sonntag that Iskander missiles are able to reach most of western Europe and there is no missile shield in place to protect against this threat.
“The Israelis and the Americans possess such systems. Which one do we prefer? Will we manage to establish an overall (missile defence) system in NATO? These are the questions we need to answer now,” Zorn said.
While he did not specify the names of the systems, he was most likely referring to Arrow 3, built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) (ISRAI.UL), and the U.S. system THAAD produced by Raytheon (RTX.N).
As of 2018, Russia had deployed Iskander missiles to its Kaliningrad exclave, a slice of Russia wedged between Poland and Lithuania. The Iskander is a mobile ballistic missile system that replaced the Soviet Scud missile, and its two guided missiles can carry conventional and nuclear warheads.
In a speech days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin would boost its defence spending to more than 2% of its economic output by injecting 100 billion euros ($110 billion) into the military.
Zorn is one of a group of high-ranking officials who consult with Scholz on how to spend these funds.
“So far, only one thing is clear: We have neither the time nor the money to develop these (missile defence) systems on our own because the missile threat is known to already be there”, Zorn said.
In response to Germany’s lack of a short-range missile defence system that can protect troops on the move or under threat while deployed, he said Berlin was now considering the purchase of such a system.
In addition, the Bundeswehr will have to invest 20 billion euros by 2032 to replenish its ammunition storage facilities, Zorn said.