Germany and the Netherlands will conduct joint tests of air and missile defense systems with the use of Patriot missiles in October on the Greek island of Crete. These tests are aimed at developing a model for deployment of air and missile defense systems in Poland and the Baltic countries, German General Michael Gschossmann stated in his interview with Reuters.
General Gschossmann, the Commander of ground-based units of Germany’s Air Force reported that joint operations should help NATO to persuade Member States in Poland and the Baltic countries that other Member States have responded to requests on greater protection of allies after the annexation of the Crimea by Russia.
The tests would validate a new joint concept of anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile defense systems, developed by Germany and the Netherlands over the past year, the first of its kind in Europe, the general reported.
More than 40 interceptor missiles will be launched during drills at a NATO site in Crete in early October. 300 German soldiers, 100 Dutch soldiers, 10 U.S. soldiers and a U.S. destroyer equipped with the Aegis missile system will take part in these drills. After tests, German and Dutch military officials will declare the readiness of the Bi-National Air and Missile Defense Task Force.
The authorities of Baltic States welcomed the U.S. deployment of Patriot batteries in Eastern Europe during a series of tests in the early summer. However, the symbolic value of this project would be higher if more than one country took part in deployment, Gschossmann said.