Close air defense is undoubtedly one of the great vulnerabilities of modern European armies. After 30 years of asymmetrical engagements during which the air threat was non-existent or controlled by air power alone, the Western armed forces gradually saw their close-range anti-aircraft systems resulting from the Cold War, such as the Franco-French Roland. German, or the British Rapier, withdrawn from service, sometimes to be replaced by short-range infantry anti-aircraft missiles like the Mistral and Stinger. However, if these missiles do indeed provide a one-off response to engage aircraft, on the other hand they do not offer any advanced detection system allowing sky surveillance and therefore 360 ° protection in all weathers, day and night. In addition, they often prove ineffective against recent air threats such as light drones and stray munitions, and do not provide sufficient reaction capabilities to counter cruise missiles and rockets. In fact, the vast majority of European land units are today vulnerable to this type of attack, the effectiveness of which has been demonstrated during engagements in Syria, Libya, and especially in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020.
As part of the modernization of the anti-aircraft defense capabilities of the Bundeswehr, the German Army, following the abandonment of the Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem program, or TLVS, considered too expensive, the German Ministry of Defense announced that it intended launch a program intended to design and produce a new short-range anti-aircraft and anti-drone system at European level. It intends to replace its Ozelot systems, Weisel light trackers equipped with 4 FIM-92 Stingers surface-to-air missiles, which are today as obsolete as they are few in number. Long-range air defense will be entrusted to the American Raytheon, who will modernize the Patriot systems already in service within the Bundeswehr, with the aim of having full operational capacity by 2030.
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