From mixing the Leopard to updating the arsenal of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles | Atalayar
As President Sánchez tries to resolve the political turmoil surrounding Spain’s planned shipment of Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, the Ministry of Defense, led by graduate student Margarita Robles, is focusing on strengthening the tank and anti-aircraft capabilities of the Spanish Armed Forces. .
Most models of anti-tank missiles and air defense equipment of Spanish combat units are technologically outdated. Moreover, the number of such rockets in military magazines is small. After years of waiting, Defense has finally decided to include financial allocations in the General State Budget for 2023 to renew a large part of the two types of missiles in service with the Spanish Army, Air Force and Navy.
Responsibility for the planning and execution of the national armaments policy for both the Leopard and the missiles rests on the shoulders of Admiral Aniceto Rosique.On January 28, he celebrated his first year at the head of the General Directorate of Weapons and Equipment (DGAM). This was a position he reached after commanding the Cartagena Arsenal and the Naval Logistics Support Headquarters, where he gained extensive experience in managing large and complex weapons systems.
Under pressure from Montclois to find a solution for the delivery of Spanish Leopards to Ukraine, Admiral Rosick’s mission in the missile field is to lead the process of modernization in some cases and procurement in others of four different weapon families. On the one hand, the Patriot, NASAMS, and Mistral 3 anti-aircraft missiles have long, short, and very short ranges, respectively.
Second, the acquisition of the 5th generation Spike LR2 guided missile, which is intended to be the main shield against tanks and armored vehicles and the backbone of the army’s ground defense. It is a vector that complements the Spike LR already in service in Spain, but is superior in range (5.5 kilometers), armor-piercing capability and targeting accuracy.
Protect the land and air theater of war
The Spike LR2, developed by Israel’s Rafael Company, is the model of choice to replace the American TOW missile in the Army and Marine Corps. Although the purchase has already been authorized by the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Finance has yet to release the 287 million euros needed to formalize the purchase of 168 firing positions and 1,600 missiles.
Minister Maria Jesús Montero must order the transfer to Defense in February so that the contract can be concluded “can be signed by summer”, according to sources associated with the program. The production of most of the missile’s equipment and subsystems is the responsibility of a group of five Spanish companies that will receive more than 90 million euros.
For example, propulsion rocket engines are manufactured by Expal ; the warhead and explosives are also produced by Expal in cooperation with the Grenade Ammunition Factory (FMG); and the instruction and commissioning sections are the responsibility of Tecnobit in collaboration with Escribano.
The national consortium is led by Rafael’s Spanish subsidiary Pap Tecnos, which is responsible for the integration of the rockets as well as the coordination and transfer of work at its 6,000 square meter facility in Torrejon (Madrid). technologies. A budget of 119 million euros has been allocated for the current year, and the industrial plan is already in the hands of Air Force General José Antonio Gutierrez Sevilla, who has spent three months at the head of DGAM’s general directorate of programs.
As for the protection of national airspace by surface-to-air missiles, Defense sources admit that“The Council of Ministers is expected to give permission for the award of contracts in the second half of the year.” The most significant investment – about 1.4 billion euros – is the purchase of new batches of Patriot MIM-104 in the most advanced export configuration.
Cover the national airspace from the ground
A weapon system developed by the world’s leading missile manufacturer, the American company Raytheon, Spain intends to acquire the MSE version of the PAC-3 battery, which is capable of hitting ballistic missiles with a higher degree of accuracy and a range of more than a hundred. kilometers. It also involves the conversion of the older PAC-2 missiles of the Marine Corps 73rd Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment (Valencia) to the PAC-3 MSE configuration.
The main priority is the purchase of Mistral 3 very short-range surface-to-air missiles, because outdated versions meet the air defense needs of the army, navy and aerospace forces at a very low level. Produced by the French-German-British-Italian multinational MBDA, the Mistral 3 has a range of about 6 kilometers, excellent maneuverability and significant improvements over previous versions.
It has a 5th generation passive infrared seeker and electronic countermeasures that make it difficult to hit a target while in flight. With an investment of more than 300 million euros, its improvement will be carried out by the national industry, which will provide new generation equipment, a new infrared vision system and advanced fire simulators.
As for the short-range platforms, the project Army’s 94th (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) and 73rd (Marines, Valencia) anti-aircraft artillery regiments. This is a missile developed by the Norwegian company Kongsberg to hit air targets at a distance of about 20 kilometers. NASAMS is a derivative of the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile, a product of the aforementioned American giant Raytheon.
With a planned investment of more than €300 million, the NASAMS replacement will also replace 2,000 short-haul systems at Spa. – from Italian manufacturer Alenia, has already been integrated into the MBDA – which acts as a protective umbrella for the Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA) in its missions in foreign operational areas. EADA belongs to the Air and Space Forces and is located at Zaragoza Air Base.