Poland joins ESSI, France isolated in air defense in Europe

Since its launch in August 2022 by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the European SkyShield Initiative, or ESSI, has established itself as a unifying and powerful pact, to bring about an efficient and homogeneous European air defense.

More than fifteen countries had already announced their membership of the ESSI in August 2022. There are now 22, while Greece, Turkey and Switzerland recently undertook to join. Several European countries, however, have not signed up to it. This is particularly the case for France and Italy.

Indeed, the ESSI, as designed by Berlin, only integrates 3 complementary anti-aircraft systems: the anti-ballistic Arrow 3, the long-range Patriot PAC, and the medium-range IRIS-T SLM. The other European systems were therefore excluded, NASAMS, CAMM, Mica VL and above all, Aster, competitors of the Patriot as well as the German IRIS-T SLM/SLX.

Poland announces intention to join the European SkyShield Initiative

Among the European countries that have so far resisted the ESSI surge, Poland played a central and determining role. Although the country does not have its own industrial and technological solution in the field of medium and long-range anti-aircraft systems, it will have, in the years to come, a very powerful air defense.

ESSI Sweden Denmark
Sweden and Denmark joined the ESSI in February 2023

This will consist, in fact, of 6 Patriot PAC-3 batteries, supported by 44 short-range batteries armed with the British CAMM missile, and 22 SHORAD PSR-A Pilica batteries armed with a double 23 mm mount and Manpads GROM missiles.

Poland also benefits from one of the two AEGIS Ashore systems, armed with American SM-3 and SM-6 anti-ballistic missiles, implemented within the framework of NATO. Like the Israeli Arrow 3 acquired by Berlin, the SM-3 is an exoatmospheric anti-ballistic missile designed to intercept MRBM and IRBM threats.

If certain interceptions were successful against MIRV equivalents by SM-3, during tests, the system is however not designed, nor cut, to provide protection against a Russian or Chinese strategic strike. Let us recall, in this respect, that Russia no longer uses MRBM missiles or IRBM missiles, only semi-ballistic SRBMs and ICBMs and SLBMs, mainly Mirvés, against which these systems are inoperative.

By its geographical position, but also by its ambition in terms of military capabilities, Warsaw now undoubtedly plays the role of pivot of European defense in the face of the Russian and Belarusian threat. Suffice to say that the Warsaw arbitration, in this area, was most anticipated.

AEGIS Ashore Poland
Poland hosts one of the two NATO AEGIS Ashore sites forming the European anti-missile shield against MRBM and IRBM type threats.

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5 Comments

  1. We have always had this choice and have for years. Supplying alternative markets who love our Itar free equipment and especially naval.

    From an economic point of view, who will produce asters 15 and 30 in the next 10 years and in large quantities?
    It’s obviously the ships.

    The war in Ukraine demonstrated that we cannot hold out by demolishing 100k drones with 2 million missiles on all possible targets in a territory.
    On the sea it's another story, because apart from your target frigate there is not much else except water.
    Let's develop a Rapidfire/LMP/aster15/aster30 quartet suitable for naval use and let's go for it!!!!!
    The Irys T systems which will be sold to all Eastern European countries will probably never fire a missile
    The boats will be another story.

  2. On the one hand there is not only France but also Italy, on the other the weak point of the ESSI is its integration within the EU, so part of the budgets will be extracted from the European budget and the, Italy and France have a role to play because they can block or slow down the project. Germany went a little strong by integrating Israel into the project, concerning the USA, Germany is a bit of a Trojan horse, even if we wish it would be interesting to see Germany's position if Trump is elected, especially since the latter makes his policy based on men and not countries, not sure he will appreciate Scholz

  3. The development of a means of exo-atmospheric interception is indeed crucial for the security and defense of Europe.

  4. Scholz is not a partner for France unlike Merkel.
    Deutchland uber ales….
    He will do everything to destroy our arms industry. We are decidedly naive and not very competent in commercial terms compared to Germany….
    Our responsible minister is not very smart...

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