- Sputnik International, 1920
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Can Homegrown 'Iron Dome' Really Protect Europe's Skies?

© AP Photo / Michal DyjukPatriot missile launchers
Patriot missile launchers - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.06.2024
The results of Europe’s efforts to build its own multi-layered air defense system, the so-called European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) which is sometimes referred to as Iron Dome (a reference to the Israeli air defense system), may not turn out to be as good as advertised, says Swedish Armed Forces veteran and former politician Mikael Valtersson.
The problem, according to him, is that not all of the European countries signed on to this enterprise, which means ESSI “doesn't cover the entirety of Europe,” and it will be no easy task to provide protection to all members.
“For example, Finland is part of it, and Turkiye is part of it. But Turkiye is very separate from the rest of Europe. So who will decide what to defend?” Valtersson inquires.
According to him, ESSI will mostly amount to each of its members purchasing surface-to-air missiles together, with the whole scheme being much less effective than the Israeli Iron Dome, “especially when it comes to hypersonic missiles.”
“Europe is such a large continent, and there will be so many holes in the defense system. So it will be nearly impossible to stop hypersonic missiles,” Valtersson warns.
This photograph shows a short range air-to-air missile Iris-T displayed on the European multinational twin-engine, canard delta wing and multirole fighter Eurofighter Typhoon at the International Paris Air Show in the Paris–Le Bourget Airport, on June 19, 2023.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.04.2024
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The fact that the European Union, which is not a military alliance, wants to pay "part of the project” also perplexed Valtersson.
“That's been a discussion within the EU to strengthen, not defense cooperation so much, but the defense acquirement when you buy the new weapon systems,” he remarks. “So, I believe that's the reasons why the European Union are interested in this. They want as many countries as possible to have the same kind of missile systems because it's cheaper and easier to integrate.”
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