German Ministry of Defence (Bundesministerium der Verteidigung) presented its technical proposal for ground-based air defence (GBAD) to the federal parliament (Bundestag) on 23 March. They plan to begin modernizing the Patriot inventory starting in 2023 to keep the system usable through 2030. The German Defence Ministry has shelved plans for a next-generation air defense system, instead investing in and upgrades to the country’s aging Patriot fleet and counter-drone technology. The new anti-air and anti-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities will be developed through the initial qualification of a Nah- und Nächstbereichsschutz (short- and very short-range air defence, NNbS) system that will replace the Wiesel 2 Ozelot light air defence system.
The announcement comes after months of studying options between the costly Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem, or TLVS, aimed at destroying sophisticated missiles and aircraft, and cheaper weapons for intercepting enemy drones. The German government has yet to formally declare TLVS canceled, even though vendor MBDA Deutschland — the local partner of main contractor Lockheed Martin — has begun planning its business posture without it. Using the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) as its foundation, TLVS will defeat next-generation threats including tactical ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial systems, cruise missiles and aircraft. Its proven hit-to-kill technology provides the best defense against tactical ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction.
The upgrade is provided through the NSPA PATRIOT Support Partnership. For more than 30 years, NSPA has provided supply, technical, procurement, transportation and maintenance support to its growing user community of PATRIOT missile users in Europe, which currently includes Germany, Greece, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Romania and Sweden. COMLOG Gesellschaft für Logistik mbH is a joint venture between MBDA (Germany) and Raytheon (USA) and provides life-cycle support to the NSPA PATRIOT Support Partnership. COMLOG Gesellschaft für Logistik mbH operates the NSPA Support Partnership own PATRIOT Missile Facility, which is one of the only two PATRIOT missile maintenance facilities in the world.
In April 2018, work was completed on the tactical and technical requirements for the Bundeswehr’s new very short and short-range air defence programme, the NNbS (Nah- und Nächstbereichsschutz). The German-French MBDA Group, which has offered the French Mistral 3 missiles for very short-range air defence (range up to 6 km, altitude to 4.5 km) on wheeled platforms, might be one of the programme’s contractors. MBDA has also suggested integrating into the NNbS programme the IRIS-T SL missiles and launchers made by Diehl Defence for short-range air defence (range to 40 km, altitude to 20 km) on wheeled or tracked platforms. Rheinmetall is offering for NNbS is its Oerlikon Skyranger 35 for the NNbS programme.