Germany has encountered significant challenges in updating its defense system, with costs skyrocketing far beyond the original budget. The focus of this defense upgrade seeks to enhance anti-drone capabilities and adapt to contemporary warfare situations.
Defense Upgrade and Its Challenges
The defense upgrade was planned to proceed under the TLVS program. This program leans on the MEADS system developed by MBDA's German and Italian subsidiaries and Lockheed-Martin. However, the German Defense Ministry faced many challenges, leading to a shift in strategy.
Instead of pushing forward with the TLVS program, the Ministry decided to renew the Bundeswehr's Patriot batteries from 2023. The objective is to sustain the anti-missile capability until 2030.
The LVS NNbs Program
To address the emerging threat of drones and short-range aerial attacks, the LVS NNbs program was initiated. This drive intends to phase out the Ocelot system. Rheinmetall Electronics, Hensoldt Sensors, and Diehl Defence, a consortium of companies, were entrusted with this crucial assignment.
Influence of Ukraine Conflict
The conflict in Ukraine has disrupted Berlin's initial plans, leading Germany to take charge of creating a European “anti-missile shield” under the NATO umbrella. This initiative draws heavily on the IRIS-T SLM, Arrow-3, and Patriot PAC-3 systems.
Proposed Solution and Projected Costs
For the LVS NNbs program, the proposed solution involves utilising a Boxer armoured infantry fighting vehicle. This vehicle will be equipped with IRIS-T missiles and a Spexer radar for accurate target detection and tracking.
Despite well-laid plans, the financial aspect of this project has raised eyebrows. The German Defense Ministry's original project budget was €240.6 million. The current projected cost, however, stands at an enormous €1.3 billion.
Federal Finance Control’s Concerns
The Federal Finance Control (BRH) expressed apprehensions about these rising costs. They questioned the project's appropriateness and called for an investigation into how the budget was set. This issue was set to be discussed by the German Parliament's Budget Committee on December 13th. Notably, this committee holds the power to intervene in any weapon purchase project valued above €25 million.