Austria and Switzerland have joined the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI). The two countries, which consider themselves neutral in international politics, today signed a letter of intent based on the German initiative. This brings the number of countries that wish to jointly improve their ground-based air defense capabilities to 19.
A meeting of defense ministers from Austria, Claudia Tanner, from Switzerland, Viola Amherd, and from Germany, Boris Pistorius, set up a framework for joining in what is called the DA-CH format.
Defense Minister Pistorius sees in the rapid accession of many countries to ESSI that they recognize the need for a good European air defense. In addition, this is also evidence that the initiative is properly drawn up, that is, not as an alliance, but as a procurement cooperation that guarantees two essentials. According to Pistorius, this is interoperability and interchangeability. The importance of these qualities was particularly evident when supporting Ukraine.
However, with the accession of Austria and Switzerland, it is not specified which systems the countries will purchase. Although one can already hear from well-informed circles that Austria is interested in two specific German systems (ES&T reported), Swiss Defense Minister Amherd assured that the normal national procurement process would be followed and that the system favored by Switzerland would be served.
European Chancellor Olaf Scholz launched the European Sky Shield initiative last October. The countries united in ESSI want to start filling huge gaps in air defense in Europe. According to the ideas of the BMVg, the partner countries should jointly purchase, use and maintain the necessary defense systems. This saves costs and creates synergies.
Editorial / Oh