German general: Patriot missile defense systems could be deployed in Baltics (3)
Germany and the Netherlands will be testing joint operations of their Patriot air and missile defense systems in October in what could be a model for multilateral deployments to Poland or the Baltic States in coming years, a high-ranking German officer said.
The October test will validate a new joint concept of operations for air and missile defense developed by Germany and the Netherlands over the past year, the first of its kind in Europe, Brig. Gen. Michael Gschossmann, commander of ground-based units for the German Air Force, told Reuters in an interview.
More than 40 interceptors will be fired during an exercise at a NATO site in Crete in early October which will include 300 German and 100 Dutch soldiers as well as 10 US soldiers and a US AEGIS destroyer, according to German and US officials.
Baltic officials welcomed the US deployment of a Patriot battery to Eastern Europe during a series of exercises earlier this summer, but the symbolic value would be greater if the deployment involved more than one country, noted Gschossmann.
"We could offer even more reassurance and send a political signal if we took a mixed task force with German, Dutch and U.S. Patriot systems — a purely defensive asset — and set it somewhere in Poland or the Baltic states," Reuters quoted Gschossmann as saying.