Germany looking at buying US or Israeli missile shield

As per a report by German weekly Welt am Sonntag, Berlin is weighing options to purchase a missile defence system from either the United States or Israel.

The development comes in the wake of Russia launching Iskander missiles in Ukraine.

The Iskander missiles can reach almost all of western Europe and there is no missile shield in place to protect against this threat, said Germany’s chief of defence Eberhard Zorn.

“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,” said Zorn.

In 2018, Moscow had deployed Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, a piece of land wedged between Lithuania and Poland.

The Iskander is a mobile ballistic missile system, which has replaced the Soviet Scud missile; it is capable of carrying either conventional or nuclear warheads.

On February, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had said, Berlin would hike its defence spending to more than 2% of its economic output.

Zorn is part of a group of high-ranking officials consulting with Scholz on how to spend the $110 billion (100 billion euros) Germany has allocated for its military.

“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”, said Zorn.

In reference to the country’s lack of a short-range missile defence, which can be used to protect troops on the move or under threat while deployed, Zorn said Berlin had started looking into the purchase of such systems and it now had to make a decision.

Apart from this, the German military will also have to invest 20 billion euros by 2032 to replenish its ammunition storages, said Zorn.

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