International Missile Defense Market Heats Up

By Vivienne Machi

Photo: Navy

As NATO celebrates the operability of its first land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Romania, nations around the globe are seeking their own missile defenses.

Countries in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are considering lower-tier air and missile defense capabilities to protect themselves against rising threats from Russia, Iran and North Korea.

NATO allies including Poland, Germany and Denmark “are exploring options for new air and short-range missile defense capabilities in the face of what appears to be a changing Russian posture,” said Thomas Karako, a missile defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Danish Maj. Gen. Henrik Dam, the defense, military, naval and air attaché for the Embassy of Denmark, echoed this thought at a recent Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance roundtable in Washington, D.C.

“It’s time to re-establish a credible air defense,” he said. “You cannot win a war from the air, but if you don’t master the air, you lose the war.”

Karako said there is a “land rush” by companies to fill this gap in the near term. Germany is developing Lockheed Martin’s medium extended air defense system to replace its Patriot surface-to-air missile systems, and Poland has expressed interest in Raytheon’s next-generation Patriot system. Suppliers in France and elsewhere are also in the competition, Karako said.

“What we’re seeing is increased demand and a diversity of suppliers in an air and missile defense market that’s heating up,” he said.

South Korea and Japan are also thinking more seriously about the suite of capabilities they need, as are Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

“There’s increased global supply and demand for missile-based strike and the means to counter them,” Karako said.

The Aegis Ashore system in Romania, declared operational in May, completes phase two of the European phased adaptive approach missile defense system, the United States’ contribution to NATO’s ballistic missile defense. The first phase involved the deployment of four Aegis-equipped guided-missile destroyers to Naval Station Rota, Spain, between 2014 and 2015. A second Aegis Ashore system to be installed in Poland by 2018 will complete phase three. NATO established missile defense as a core alliance mission in 2010.

Topics: International, Missile Defense

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