How can Ukraine benefit from Germany’s IRIS-T air defence missile?

IRIS-T is capable of thwarting all varieties of aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, guided weapons, surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and anti-radar missiles. It also has a high possibility of destroying hostile drones.

The first cutting-edge air defence missile system, the IRIS-T, has been handed by Germany to Kiev to assist defend Ukrainian cities and troops from aerial strikes.

Germany has somewhat delayed the delivery of the missile system, but according to DW (Germany), Ukraine has started to have one of the most sophisticated air defence systems in the world to defend it against Russian cruise missiles. this surface-to-air (SLM) IRIS-T fire. This is the first of four IRIS-T systems that Berlin plans to send to Ukraine by the end of the current year.

The new missile is effective against all kinds of planes, helicopters, cruise missiles, guided missiles, surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, anti-radar missiles, and big calibre missiles. Additionally, it offers a high kill probability at very close and medium ranges versus drones, unmanned combat aircraft, and other small movement threats.

Oleksii Reznikov, the defence minister of Ukraine, announced the rollout of equivalent systems made by US suppliers on Twitter the same day that his country received its first IRIS-T system. Reznikov hailed the initial deliveries as the start of a “new era” for Ukrainian air defence.

Rafael Loss, a defence specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), claimed that although the new systems are not a game changer, they have the ability to considerably improve Ukraine’s defences since Ukrainians are confident.

“Mass missile attacks will be increasingly difficult for the Russians as they (Ukraine) obtain more advanced equipment that can be incorporated into their systems, and it is likely that there will be fewer civilian and military targets being attacked,” Loss told DW. He clarified, though, that the method had never been applied in combat.

The delivery of IRIS-T, according to Loss, is a significant indicator of NATO’s ongoing efforts to provide Ukraine with stronger Western-made weapons.

The IRIS-T version being delivered to Ukraine, with a price tag of about 140 million euros ($136 million) each, is incredibly fresh even though it has been in development since the 1990s and has undergone numerous improvements. The German military (Bundeswehr) has not yet purchased an IRIS-T system, and the final tests have only recently been completed by the end of 2021. Sweden and Norway already bought earlier models of this system.

Mid-range, high-altitude coverage for small communities and military units is provided by Diehl Defense’s IRIS-T system for Ukraine, which is situated in Überlingen, southern Germany.

Each system consists of three vehicles: a missile launcher, a radar, and a fire control radar, as well as integrated logistics and support. The missiles are believed to have a range of 40 km, a maximum altitude of 20 km, be equipped with a 250 km range radar, and use infrared imaging to locate targets. The missile can also be deployed all the way around the launch pad.

IRIS-T’s maker Dieh, claims that it functions best as a component of a “multi-layer air defence” system, such as when coupled with the US Patriot PAC-3 missile defence system, which offers defence at a higher maximum altitude.

The German special supply seems to have been delayed since it arrived days after many Russian missiles struck several Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kiev.

The German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that since July, Ukraine has requested permission from the German authorities to purchase 11 IRIS-T systems. Kiev also requested financial assistance from Germany for this deal, which may cost up to 1.5 billion euros.

The government later announced that the first IRIS-T systems would only be delivered by the end of the year, despite German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s initial pledge to provide at least one system to Ukraine by June. The three upcoming IRIS-T systems should be delivered in 2023 if current progress continues.

Because such missile systems must be produced to order in advance, expert Rafael Loss asserted that industry, rather than a lack of political will, is more likely to be the “bottleneck.” He claimed that “some of the systems” Germany will be sending to Ukraine came from an order placed by Egypt.

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