The German Defense Ministry has shelved plans for a next-generation air defense system, instead investing in counter-drone technology and upgrades to the country’s aging Patriot fleet.
The announcement on Tuesday comes after months of studying options between the costly Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem, or TLVS, aimed at destroying sophisticated missiles and aircraft, and cheaper weapons for intercepting enemy drones.
Ministry officials told lawmakers they plan to begin modernizing the Patriot missile defense inventory starting in 2023 to keep the system usable through 2030. The decision amounts to a win for manufacturer Raytheon Technologies, which had feared losing the preeminence of its global cash cow over a novel system developed by a major European country.
In a second step, officials in Berlin want to field a new defensive system against short-range threats, eventually replacing the “old and qualitatively and quantitatively insufficient” Ozelot fleet, according to a ministry statement. That project has the potential to spark Europe-wide cooperation, officials said, pointing to the Dutch-German Apollo program, under which both nations have integrated a portion of their air-defense formations.
Joint acquisitions with other European Union and NATO partners toward a “European drone and air-defense” system could be in the offing, the statement added…
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