Germany has delivered the first IRIS-T air-defense system to Ukraine, Ukrainian defense minister Oleksii Reznikov confirmed on October 12.
The delivery comes just two days after German defense minister Christine Lambrecht said Germany would supply the first of four IRIS-T systems this month, in response to a large-scale Russian missile attack on civilians and non-strategic location across Ukraine.
“A new era of air defense has begun in Ukraine. IRIS-Ts from Germany are already here. United States’ NASAMS are coming. This is only the beginning. And we need more. No doubt that Russia is a terrorist state. There is a moral imperative to protect the sky over 🇺🇦 in order to save our people,” Reznikov said on Wednesday.
It is worth noting that the two countries had been discussing the transfer of the surface-launched medium range systems since May this year, when first reports said Ukraine could receive up to ten of the systems.
As it currently stands, Germany will send four IRIS-T systems to Ukraine, with the remaining three set to be handed over next year.
The IRIS-T SLM can intercept missiles at altitudes of up to 20 kilometers and distances of up to 40 kilometers. The IRIS-T missile was originally developed as an air-to-air weapon for fighter aircraft, but Diehl Defence 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.
IRIS-T is the latest in a series of high-profile systems delivered to Ukraine by Germany. These include Mittleres Artillerie Raketen System (MARS) launchers, PzH2000 self-propelled armored howitzers, and Gepard anti-aircraft guns.