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Turkiye To Join The European Sky Shield Initiative

Turkiye To Join The European Sky Shield Initiative

The report from Bloomberg indicates the enlargement of the initiative not only in the number of countries but also in terms of coverage towards the South.

The defence ministers from both countries confirmed a signing ceremony will take place soon today. There has been no statement from Turkiye or Greece regarding which systems might be bought.

The “Sky Shield” initiative, with 21 participating countries, involves the joint acquisition of various air defence systems for a common interface and infrastructure. The air defence systems in the initiative are German IRIS-T SLM for short/medium-range air defence, U.S.-made MIM-104 Patriot for long-range air defence, and Israeli Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile for upper layer defence.

For the case of Turkiye, IRIS-T SLM missiles have the lowest possibility of acquirement as Turkiye has already developed HİSAR-O+ and HİSAR RF missiles as well as GÖKDEMİR system as means of medium-range air defence. The deal for serial production of HİSAR-A+ and HİSAR-O+ systems was signed in December 2023.

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Arrow 3 is likely off the possibilities due to current political circumstances between Turkiye and Israel.

This leaves Patriot, capable of ballistic missile defence with PAC-3 missiles. The recent developments regarding defence relations between Turkiye and the U.S. (The approved sale of F-16 Block 70 fighters and a large number of munitions can be given as an example)  might pave the way for the acquisition of Patriot as an interim solution until the next block of SİPER missile for ballistic missile defence is readied.

On the other hand, France is concerned about the initiative as it has the SAMP-T system with Aster 30 missiles for long-range air defence while the initiative promotes the MIM-104 Patriot.