Home Europe Germany mulling transfer of IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine

Germany mulling transfer of IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine

IRIS-T SLM for Ukraine
Illustration: Diehl Defence photo of an IRIS-T system

After announcing plans on the transfer of Gepard anti-aircraft guns and PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, reports out of Germany say the country is now evaluating a possible transfer of IRIS-T SLM medium-range air defense systems.

As reported by by German daily Bild, Ukraine could receive up to 10 IRIS-T SLM (surface-launched medium range) systems after its soldiers receive relevant training in Germany.

According to estimates, and should the German security council be in favor of the proposal, the first system could arrive in Ukraine by November.

The IRIS-T missile was originally developed as an air-to-air weapon for fighter aircraft, but the company developed the surface-launched IRIS-T SL variant for Germany’s Tactical Air Defence System (TLVS). A complete IRIS-T SLM system was first successfully tested in 2014.

The system is capable of intercepting fighter jets, helicopters and missiles at ranges of 40 kilometers.

Reports of Germany’s transfer of air-defense systems come three weeks after the country confirmed its decision to deliver first heavy weapons to Ukraine for its defense against the Russian invasion.

Germany’s defense minister Christine Lambrecht confirmed on April 26 the decision to transfer Gepards but Switzerland said the same day it would not be supplying the ammunition necessary for the operation of the system. A solution is said to have been found in Brazil, another Gepard operator, who was willing to sell the necessary ammunition to Germany. It is unclear if solution has been found and the systems are yet to be observed in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Germany also revealed it would send seven PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine following operational training that would be delivered for Ukrainian personnel in Germany.