German Missile Programs Called Into Question
The German government’s influential Green Party is calling two of the country’s biggest missile programs into question, and has also asked for an assessment of the nation’s missile industry. Programs under renewed scrutiny include a version of the Trigat anti-tank missile, and the multinational MEADS air defense and missile defense system.
The Trigat-LR is part of a comprehensive Franco-German collaboration to develop a 3rd generation European anti-tank weapon ith secondary anti-helicopter capability.
EADS’ Tigat-MR and Trigan systems would offer variants that were suitable for portable use and vehicle mounting, replacing the MILAN missile currently in European service. Its Trigat-LR, meanwhile, would offer a great deal of commonality while offering an alternative to the U.S. Hellfire missiles and replacing the HOT and TOW anti-tank missiles on the Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter.
The 900-missile Trigat-LR program is expected to cost around EUR 500 million, however, and the Green Party believes that without the threat of Soviet armor, the need for a 3rd generation anti-tank system has largely evaporated.
Germany’s participation in the tri-national Medium-Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) has also divided the Red-Green government coalition. The MEADS venture is being led by Lockheed Martin Corp. and includes MBDA Italia, French-German aerospace firm EADS and Germany’s LFK-Lenkflugkorpersysteme, a subsidiary of EADS and MBDA. The consortium won a $3 billion contract last September to design and develop MEADS to replace Patriot missiles in the United States, the Hawk system in Germany and Nike Hercules missiles in Italy.
Germany was slated to sign on to a EUR 886 million (USD $1.2 billion) development phase for MEADS by the end of March, but it will no longer be able to meet that target and its long-term participation is now in question. The United States and Italy have already signed up to the system.
- Germany did eventually approve involvement in MEADS, and DID’s MEADS anchor article notes the $3.4 billion tri-national contract to begin development and risk-reduction activities.
- Reuters: Germany Delays Approval of MEADS Project
- DefenseNews.com: Germany’s Greens: Reassess Missile Programs, Industry.