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Apr 14 2022

German-Dutch Air and Missile Defence Task Force deploy to Slovakia

RAMSTEIN, Germany – A binational, Dutch-German Air and Missile Defence Task Force is deploying PATRIOT systems near Sliač airbase, Slovakia in April to reinforce NATO's defence capabilities on the Eastern flank following Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

After an official invitation of the Government of the Slovak Republic and following a decision by the governments of Germany and the Netherlands, additional PATRIOT systems are deploying to Slovakia, where they will contribute to NATO's Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (IAMDS).  These ground-based defensive systems will strengthen the integrated shielding of NATO's borders and will protect Slovak populations and territory from missile threats.

We are well prepared to strengthen the air defence of our ally Slovakia ... we will ensure the security and integrity of NATO airspace

"To reinforce Slovakia's air defence and NATO's eastern flank, we have deployed to Slovakia with the first German PATRIOT forces. Together with our Dutch allies, we will ensure the security and integrity of NATO airspace," said Colonel Jörg Sievers, Commander of the German Air Missile Defence Wing 1 and Task Force Commander in Slovakia. "For the last two years we have conducted tactical live firings together with Dutch PATRIOT units and we are well prepared to strengthen the air defence of our NATO ally Slovakia. We are grateful for the outstanding host nation support of the Slovakia Armed Forces," he added.

Prior to deploying to Slovakia, elements of the Dutch-German Air Missile Defence Task Force were briefed by their military leadership.  The Task Force, which will arrive in Slovakia later this month along with the PATRIOT systems, was deployed to reinforce NATO's defence capabilities on the Eastern Flank of the Alliance following Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. 
Photos by the Dutch Ministry of Defence and the German Bundeswehr

The deployment of the German-led bi-national Task Force will involve a number of steps, with the first phase already completed. Close cooperation between the Task Force and the Host Nation is essential and underlines the importance of Alliance cohesion and the requirement to frequently train together to enhance interoperability.

"With the deployment of Dutch PATRIOTs into the bi-national Air and Missile Defence Task Force (BAMDTF), the Netherlands shows solidarity and contributes to enhance the defence of NATO countries in Eastern Europe. Furthermore, we strengthen the cooperation with our ally Germany," stated Colonel Jos Kuijpers, Commander of the Dutch ground-based Air Defence Command (DGLC). "For years we have worked closely together within project APOLLO, in which a German short range air defence unit has been fully integrated in the command structure of the DGLC," he added.

NATO's IAMD provides continuous vigilance across NATO airspace, safeguarding the populations of NATO member states. Following Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, there has been an increased use of missiles, Unmanned Aerials Vehicles (UAVs) and combat aircraft close to the borders of Allied nations. NATO has bolstered its readiness and military posture to defend against air and missile threats, which may most likely arise from miscalculation or loss of guidance or control.

What is a PATRIOT? 

The PATRIOT weapons system (Phased-Array Tracking Radar to Intercept On Target) combats enemy air threats varying from aircraft and helicopters to mid-range ballistic missiles such as SCUD missiles. A PATRIOT battery primarily consists of an Engagement Control Station (ECS, fire control centre), a radar and six launching stations. The launching stations are loaded with a combination of PATRIOT missiles, depending on the threat. The PAC-3 missile is the most advanced missile and has 'Hit-to-Kill' capability. This missile has an extensive range, permitting intercepts of ballistic missiles more effectively and at greater altitudes. The horizontal range can be significantly increased by positioning the launching stations further away from the radar. The PATRIOT radar is a fixed radar that employs an electronically controlled radar beam for the detection, classification and identification of targets as well as for guidance of the system's own missiles. A PATRIOT battery is capable of tracking a large number of targets simultaneously and carrying out several interceptions at once.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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