The West cannot find protection against Russian missiles

Europeans intend to use American, German and Israeli systems for their missile defense system

The West cannot find protection against Russian missiles
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After a series of missile strikes by the Russian Armed Forces on Ukrainian facilities, the Pentagon promised to help Ukraine create an integrated missile defense system. Against this background, 15 European countries have taken care of their own anti-missile security – from the Baltic states to Germany. It seems that the western neighbors were impressed by the vulnerability of Ukraine and the comparison of its own air defense forces with Russian ones.

At the end of the week, the Pentagon announced plans to create an integrated air defense system for Ukraine. Kyiv is asking to give Ukraine an integrated air defense system designed to defend priority targets, General Mark Milley, head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told TASS. Various options are being considered for transferring short, medium and long-range air defense systems to Kyiv, the general said. According to Milli, the combination of all these systems will make it possible to cover Ukrainian airspace from Russian missiles and aircraft.

In the meantime, only 10% of the required number of air defense systems are in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday.

“Our ability to close the sky is not enough,” complained the Ukrainian president, speaking at the PACE session. Kyiv would like supplies many times more,” Zelensky was quoted by TASS.

“Ukraine has already been helped by deliveries of missile defense and air defense. So, we know about the supply of IRIS-T SLM air defense systems developed in Germany, MANPADS systems, air defense and missile defense systems of the Soviet standard, based on their availability in different states. So this is not the first time. But it must be taken into account that Ukraine itself does not have money to create an integrated air defense system, in this and not only in this regard, it counts on outside help”, Vadim Kozyulin, head of the Center for Global Studies and International Relations of the Institute of Actual International Problems of the Diplomatic academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shared his opinion.

“Ukraine can create an air defense system with the help of the United States and its allies, not only if they supply Ukraine with the complexes, but also if there are prepared calculations trained to manage them, in turn”, notes Ilya Kramnik, a researcher at the IMEMO RAS, a military observer.

“The number of Soviet complexes on which trained Ukrainian specialists can already work is not enough. This means that supplies are needed from the West, where there are mainly American Patriot complexes. The complexes that are in storage can be delivered. But Ukraine does not have personnel capable of working for the Patriot,” Kramnik told the VZGLYAD newspaper.

Against the backdrop of persistent requests from Kyiv to provide the Armed Forces of Ukraine and critical infrastructure with cover from Russian missile attacks, the creation of an integrated missile defense and air defense system has taken care of Ukraine’s western neighbors.

On Thursday, a declaration was made public in Brussels, which was signed by German Defense Minister Christina Lambrecht and 14 of her colleagues. The document consolidates the intentions of European partners in the North Atlantic Alliance, as well as Finland joining NATO, to create a common European Sky Shield air defense system (“European Sky Shield”). The Declaration was signed by: Germany, Great Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia also intends to join the Heavenly Shield project.

As for Poland, it is already several steps ahead of its EU partners in creating a reliable missile defense system, Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Friday. The head of the Polish Ministry of Defense announced this at a training ground in the city of Torun following the results of tests of the American Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems and their integration with Polish missile defense and air defense systems.

“Europe has been developing its missile defense and air defense system for a long time. This is a consequence of long-standing own European developments, stretching back to the 2000s,” notes Kramnik.

But it is quite possible to assume what exactly prompted the Europeans to come up with the initiative of a unified missile defense system right now. Firstly, the course of the operation in Ukraine and, in particular, the inability of the Ukrainian air defense to repel missile attacks on infrastructure, and, secondly, the comparison of the capabilities of the Russian missile defense system with the air defense forces of the countries of the alliance. The Rybar Telegram channel cites the opinion of Brazilian analyst Pepe Escobar, according to which Russian strikes on Ukrainian targets could completely deprive Kyiv of the ability to conduct hostilities. And moreover, to encourage the NATO patrons of Ukraine to start negotiations.

In turn, as American military analyst Will Shriver noted in his blog, Russia has demonstrated the ability to regularly intercept missiles and rockets, which is a revolution on the battlefield. As Shriver points out, “no other NATO country has such capabilities.”

The head of the German military department, Christina Lambrecht, directly indicated that the European Sky Shield project is being created in order to close gaps in missile defense, writes Deutsche Welle. The project plans to combine various air defense systems designed to destroy cruise and ballistic missiles and combat drones.

And it is German politicians who directly draw parallels with the situation in Ukraine. In particular, the Prime Minister of the richest German land of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, said that Germany should install air defense systems and missiles to protect the country’s cities, which would create a protective “umbrella” over Germany. He added that what Germany does for its partners must be done for its own country. Germany, as you know, handed over the IRIS-T SLM air defense system to Ukraine.

Military expert, former head of the anti-aircraft missile forces of the special forces command of the Russian Air Force Sergei Khatylev emphasizes that today there is no common air defense system for Europe, let alone missile defense. The US missile defense elements in Poland and Romania are “a single occurrence that cannot cope with even a dozen missiles,” Khatylev said.

“The European states are armed with various complexes of various modifications. In some places there are modern ones, for example, the American Patriot in the PAC-3 version. In Spain, the Hawk anti-aircraft missile systems developed in the 50s are still in service,” Khatylev noted.

The expert emphasizes that the EU does not have a unified system of control, long-range aerial reconnaissance, data processing – up to a different procedure for using radio frequencies. All this is a shortcoming in the creation of a unified air defense system.

“There are separate local systems in Europe. And what is now being proposed is only the deployment of disparate anti-aircraft missile systems. The adopted documents do not say that it is necessary to create unified anti-aircraft missile, radar and aviation systems with automatic control in order to detect the enemy at distant borders”, the source added.

Khatylev pointed out that so far only a declaration of intent has been adopted in Brussels, and the creation of an anti-aircraft shield will take five to ten years. He also pointed out that the systems named by Lambrecht will be able to work – taking into account the maximum improvements – within a radius of 80 kilometers. A similar assessment is given by Vadim Kozyulin, head of the Center for Global Studies and International Relations of the Institute of Contemporary International Problems of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Creating your own Sky Shield air defense system in Europe will take at least five to ten years. Only the planning stage will take at least a year or two. The cost of such a project can be estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars, since today missile defense systems are the most expensive of weapons,” the expert notes.

“The Sky Shield program is not just about integrating the missile defense and air defense systems assets that many countries have, but about creating the latest weapons system against modern threats. If you design it comprehensively, as they did in the Soviet Union, then it is necessary to take into account the scale in terms of geography of distribution, as well as technical difficulties. Such a system, in fact, includes a number of other systems of different levels – strategic, operational, tactical and others,” Kozyulin said.

In any case, Russia needs to respond to what is happening, in turn, Khatylev notes.

“We need to keep the issue of creating the European Sky Shield under control. European authorities finally understood that air defense is important”, summed up Khatylev.

Despite the fact that some experts consider the Patriots obsolete, this system allows you to destroy modern attack and delivery systems – but not hypersonic missiles, said Lt. Gen. Aitech Bizhev, former deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force for the joint air defense system of the CIS member states. 

“It is with the help of hypersonic weapons that Russia, if necessary, will be able to quickly make a breach in the European Sky Shield,” the source emphasized. And to defeat such a system, you need to create a “massive raid that exceeds the firing capabilities of the Patriots.”

“Russia has Kinzhals, Vanguards, Calibers, Iskanders and other means of aerospace attack, so not a single air defense and missile defense system of the West can withstand it. They can accidentally shoot down Russian missiles in separate local areas,” the lieutenant general explained.

Olesya Ostrokova, VIEW

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