TechGermany nears deal for advanced missiles amid Ukraine aid debate

Germany nears deal for advanced missiles amid Ukraine aid debate

F-35, illustrative photo
F-35, illustrative photo
Images source: © GETTY | NurPhoto

11:39 AM EDT, March 21, 2024

According to the German newspaper Bild, local authorities are nearing the completion of negotiations for the purchase of JASSM-ER missiles. This development has reignited the debate on their hesitancy in providing Ukraine with Taurus missiles. We delve into the specifics of these weapons.

JASSM-ER and Taurus are advanced long-range cruise missiles. Germany began steps to acquire JASSM-ER from the United States in 2022, aiming to incorporate them into a broader deal that encompasses the procurement of F-35 fighters and compatible armaments.

Germany's acquisition of JASSM-ER

Unlike other missiles, finalizing the JASSM-ER purchase has faced hurdles. Bild's editorial team expects the agreement to conclude by this autumn. They note that German officials intend to procure 75 JASSM-ER cruise missiles.

The JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is a stealthy air-launched missile produced by Lockheed Martin. The JASSM-ER variant boasts enhanced range capabilities, offering an operational reach of about 621 miles, thanks to an expanded fuel capacity.

The missile measures 14 feet in length and weighs approximately 2646 pounds, featuring a significant 992-pound warhead.

Germany's reluctance to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine

While Taurus missiles share similar dimensions and weight to JASSM-ER, they employ a 1102-pound MEPHISTO (Multi-Effect Penetrator, Highly Sophisticated, and Target Optimized) warhead and have a range of up to 310 miles.

Germany's potential supply of these missiles to Ukraine has been a contentious topic for months. Within this debate, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in March of this year, firmly declared Germany's commitment to supporting Ukraine with these weapons.

Bild reports suggest that negotiations with Washington over JASSM-ER missiles won't alter Germany's stance regarding the Taurus missiles' provision to Ukraine. The American arms could potentially replace the German missiles, but that is envisioned only in a long-term scenario.

"In the longer term, acquiring JASSM cruise missiles may lead to them superseding the existing Taurus missiles in the arsenal of the German air forces," the article mentioned.

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