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This week, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, together with the Inspector of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, visited the location of Helicopter Squadron (HSG) 64 at the Holzdorf Air Base, which is located exactly on the Saxony-Anhalt-Brandenburg state border. That's why the Prime Ministers of both federal states, Reiner Haseloff (CDU) from Magdeburg and Dietmar Woidke (SPD) from Potsdam, were also there. Topics of discussion included the stationing of the new heavy transport helicopter (STH), the Israeli missile defense system “Arrow 3” and the associated acceleration of construction projects.

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The “Arrow 3” air defense system will in future be part of the Bundeswehr’s territorial missile defense system. (Photo: US Missile Defense Agency

In June, the German Bundestag approved the pre-contractual agreement for the procurement of the “Arrow 3” air defense system, which will in future be part of the Bundeswehr’s territorial missile defense system. Two months later, the US government approved this sale; As a co-developer, the United States has a say here. This is a ground-based anti-ballistic system that can be used at an altitude of well over 100 kilometers. According to the wishes of the federal government, “Arrow 3” is also to become part of the “European Sky Shield Initiative” (ESSI), which was initiated by Germany in August last year in the wake of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

In July, the Defense and Budget Committees of the Bundestag approved the purchase of 60 STH Boeing CH-47F “Chinook”, 47 of which are to be stationed in Holzdorf. The remaining copies will go to the second HSG 64 location in Laupheim, Baden-Württemberg.

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The CH-47F “Chinook” is the successor to the aging CH-53G. (Photo: Gerd Portugall)

In order to be able to implement the upcoming construction measures quickly, Prime Ministers Woidke and Haseloff announced the formation of a “task force”. The infrastructural measures required in Holzdorf in this context include, for example, the expansion of existing outdoor parking areas, the creation of additional weather-protected parking spaces, the adaptation of the flight operations areas and the construction of a new maintenance hall. Military infrastructure measures worth around one billion euros are currently being recorded in Brandenburg alone by 2029. STH and “Arrow 3” cost an additional 550 million euros.

Gerd Portugall