Denmark and Sweden joined the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) coordinated by Germany. This brings the number of participants to 17, including 15 Allies as well as invitees Finland and Sweden. Among other things, the initiative aims to strengthen NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence (NATO IAMD) by facilitating the multinational acquisition and integration of a broad range of air defence capabilities by European countries. A part of ESSI’s envisioned multinational acquisition will be conducted through a Rapid Acquisition Track within NATO’s Modular Ground-Based Air Defence High Visibility Project. Ten Allied Defence Ministers launched this effort today in parallel through signature of a Memorandum of Understanding and associated funding commitments.
“Germany’s leadership through the European Sky Shield Initiative, leveraging already existing NATO cooperation frameworks, is a crucial step to ensure that NATO can effectively defend itself against air and missile threats,” said NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana.
Defence Ministers from 14 NATO Allies (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, the United Kingdom) and Finland came together in Brussels on 13 October 2022 to sign a Letter of Intent for the development of a “European Sky Shield Initiative”. Spearheaded by Germany, the initiative aims to create a European air and missile defence system through the common acquisition of air defence equipment and missiles by European nations. This will strengthen NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence. The new assets, fully interoperable and seamlessly integrated within the NATO air and missile defence, would significantly enhance ability to defend the Alliance from all air and missile threats.
The NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence (NATO IAMD) is a command and control network combining radars and other facilities spread throughout the NATO alliance’s air defence forces. NATO IAMD is an essential and continuous mission in peacetime, crisis and conflict, safeguarding and protecting Alliance territory, populations and forces against any air or missile threat or attack. It is a vital element of NATO’s deterrence and defence, which contributes to the Alliance’s indivisible security and freedom of action, including NATO’s ability to reinforce its deployments and to provide a strategic response.In peacetime, there are two major ongoing activities within the framework of NATO IAMD: NATO Air Policing and NATO Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD).