TechGerman support soars: additional IRIS-T systems for Ukraine

German support soars: additional IRIS-T systems for Ukraine

IRIS-T air defense system in Ukraine
IRIS-T air defense system in Ukraine
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8:14 PM EST, November 16, 2023

The Ukrainian army is on the brink of reinforcement with the sought-after weaponry. Germany has pledged to provide them with extra IRIS-T systems, lauded as some of the most effective air defense mechanisms. Their efficiency has been already demonstrated in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The announcement was made by Germany's Ambassador to Ukraine, Martin Jäger. He reiterated that the focus of Germany's aid to Ukraine is predominantly on air defense. Earlier, Berlin supported the defending army with resources like the Gepard air defense systems. They also supplied more technologically advanced tools, such as Patriot missile launchers and IRIS-T systems.

Increased delivery of IRIS-T systems to Ukraine

"We will provide additional air defense systems, including both Patriot and IRIS-T. There are plans for five of them," said Jäger.

The Ambassador disclosed that currently, there are three German IRIS-T systems in operation in Ukraine. The future consignment will comprise two more. These are medium-range IRIS-T SLM variants. Alongside these, Ukraine has also received long-range IRIS-T SLX versions and short-range IRIS-T SLS versions.

The IRIS-T SLM can target objects at a maximum distance of approximately 25 miles and altitudes of up to 12.4 miles. They utilize cutting-edge electronics and fourth-generation thermal imaging IR warheads, which trace the thermal image of the target. These vertically launched missiles can reach speeds up to Mach 3 (3349 ft/s).

Highly effective antiaircraft weapon

The IRIS-T SLM has the capability to engage a variety of aerial targets, including aircraft, helicopters, drones, and maneuvering missiles. Ukrainian war reports have highlighted scenarios wherein the German systems achieved a 100% successful shoot-down rate.

The launchers are mounted on wheeled chassis (MAN 8×8 trucks), housing eight containers. The assembly also includes an engine boasting a power of over 400 HP, guaranteeing a top speed of 55.9 mph. The entire IRIS-T SLM system comprises three vehicles, inclusive of a radar vehicle and a command post.

The Ukrainian armed forces first received the IRIS-T SLM system from Germany in October 2022, with the second and third following in April and October 2023, respectively. The system boasts the ability to operate seamlessly under any weather conditions. Support of this kind is tremendously valuable for Ukrainians, particularly in the light of reports about Russian plans for increased assaults on the energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

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