In July, Austria signed a declaration to join the Sky Shield missile defense system. “This is an innovation and huge progress when it comes to being able to defend our neutral country,” Chancellor Karl Nehmer (ÖVP) said. During this period, the government also approved the purchase of medium and long range defense missiles. Precise information, such as the exact cost of the billion-dollar project or the net personnel cost to the military, is unclear. However, one thing is certain: the population is skeptical. As an August poll showed, only every second Austrian supports the billion-dollar project.
Air Force Commander Brigadier Gerfried Promberger now wants to explain the project to the Austrians in more detail.
“The attacks on Ukraine have shown how essential a shared European and seamless air defense is. The “Sky Shield” is a protective shield spread over Austria to ward off threats from the air and ensure the safety of Austrians, Promburger said. And further: “Austria is neutral, not part of any military alliance, and should therefore be able to independently protect its population and critical infrastructure.”
“With financially guaranteed resources in accordance with the OBH 2032+ development plan, the closing of the capability gap for short and medium range action of the ground-based air defense force is ensured,” the “Air Chief” said. “Defence beyond 50 km is not currently included in the OBH 2032+ development plan and additional budget has been given for it. It will be possible to bridge this gap in the future by the decision of the Council of Ministers of November 15, 2023, ”he explained.
In an additional announcement to the accession announcement, Defense Minister Claudia Tanner clearly stated that “Austria and Switzerland intend to participate in joint procurement and training measures within the framework of the ESSI, but not in operational measures,” Promberger. explained.
This means that measures that could be seen as participation in a military alliance or allowing bases on Austrian territory are explicitly excluded.
The increased threat situation is expressed in three factors against which the “Sky Shield” aims to provide the necessary protection: the threat of attacks by drones or misguided drones, the threat from military aircraft in the airspace and from ballistic or nuclear missiles in the air. Danger and space.
Many users on social networks have already asked themselves whether Austria could stop a rocket on its own. “The release of weapons against identified threats against Austria occurs exclusively at the national level and therefore sovereignly against targets in Austrian airspace,” explained Brig. And: “Identifying threats or threats from air and space and the safety of the Austrian people have been given priority. The decision-making phase regarding surrender of weapons will take place in a very short period of time.