Can Ukraine IRIS-T air defense system intercept Russian Iskander missiles?

Whether the IRIS-T air defense system will be effective in the hands of the Ukrainian armed forces against Russian missiles is a matter of many questions.

After Russia’s large-scale missile attack on Ukraine, NATO countries promoted the aid of defensive weapons to Kyiv, which included the advanced air defense system IRIS-T.

US President Joe Biden pledged that Washington will continue to provide Ukraine with necessary defense support, including modern air defense systems. Meanwhile, the first IRIS-T SLM complex was handed over to Ukraine by Germany.

The issue that attracts the attention of analysts today is whether this German medium-range air defense missile complex is capable of intercepting powerful Russian attack munitions such as Iskander or Kh-101?

In a televised conversation, Ukrainian air defense spokesman Yuriy Ignat had a conversation with the main expert of the training department of anti-aircraft missile operators – Mr. Denys Smazhny about the weapons that Kyiv had just received. take.

Currently, Ukraine is the first country to put the IRIS-T air defense system into service, according to Smazhny, this weapon complex is very important to them because it meets the requirement to repel current threats.

“This anti-aircraft missile system has good prospects for performance against modern threats, including cruise missiles, which we can hardly intercept through old weapons complexes from the Soviet era.”, Mr. Smajny noted.

For example, IRIS-T will greatly facilitate work against cruise missiles such as Kh-22 or Kh-101 – in general, IRIS-T’s greatest advantage is when it comes to intercepting objects on the ground. not at very high sensitivity.

The training officer noted: “cruise missiles that fly very low and are built with stealth technology, such as the Kh-101, are difficult for our older radars to see, unlike IRIS-T”.

In addition, IRIS-T can engage multiple targets at once: “If we have three launchers fully loaded with ammunition in the composition, which is a total of 24 missiles, this means that it will destroy 24 targets at the same time”.

“In the case of multiple missiles participating in a mass attack, if we had put the IRIS-T system on duty, most of the enemy’s attack bullets would be detected by this complex and destroy”.

The defensive range of IRIS-T is claimed to be up to 40 km, while the launcher itself can be located 20 km from the command center: “Thus, enemy missiles can be destroyed from a distance away. 60 km from the covered object”.

“But to combat threats such as ballistic missiles, IRIS-T alone will not be enough – for this Ukraine needs to build a multi-layered anti-missile defense system,” Smazhny said.

For example, an Iskander ballistic missile with a warhead weight of 500 kg and flying over the battlefield at Mach 7, the small IRIS-T can detect the target but it is difficult to effectively intercept.

“Therefore, to counter such targets as ballistic missiles, it is necessary to build an effective anti-missile defense system, including IRIS-T, NASAMS, and Patriot in the future,” Smazhny concluded.

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