Germany and the Netherlands will be testing the interoperability of their US-made Patriot air defence system in Crete next October in the framework of the Extended Air Defence Task Force (EADTF), said German Brigadier Michael Gschossmann in an interview published by Reuters yesterday (8 Aug.). Some 40 missiles will be launched by 300 German soldiers and 100 Dutch ones during an exercise designed to make the EADTF combat ready and prepared for deployment, should NATO need it.
The EADTF could then serve as a model for future multilateral deployments in Eastern Europe and thus de facto participate in the “reassurance” policy initiated by NATO for the benefit of Poland and the Baltic states, Brigadier Gschossmann explained.
Next October’s joint exercise will be taking place at a time when Germany is deciding whether to approve the €4M purchase of a replacement system for the Patriot system made by Raytheon. The Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS), designed by European missile house MBDA and US group Lockheed Martin, was down-selected last year by Berlin but the system will have to undergo a new battery of tests before being submitted for approval to the German Bundestag (parliament). MBDA, which will submit a final proposal in September, is still hoping for the go-ahead in early 2017 otherwise the decision could be delayed until 2018, or even 2023, following the German federal elections next year. These delays go some way to explaining Berlin’s projects concerning the use of its Patriot batteries.
The MIM-104 Patriot (an acronym for Phased Array Tracking to Intercept Of Target) was first used in the second Gulf War. Since then it has been sold to 12 countries in addition to the United States (Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates) and its most modern version, the MIM-104F PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capacity), will be further upgraded with the planned integration of MEADS sub-systems. The only anti-air system to have engaged a ballistic missile in combat, the latest version of the Patriot has a range of 240km flying at a maximum altitude of 24,400m.