Germany to supply Ukraine with four Iris-T surface-to-air missile systems as part of €1.3bn aid package
Politico reported on 21 November 2023 that German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced a new aid package worth a total of 1.3 billion euros during his visit to Kiev. The aid includes four IRIS-T medium-range air defence systems, 20,000 155mm artillery shells and an unspecified number of anti-tank mines, probably of the DM22 model.
Pistorius expressed the belief that this package would contribute significantly to Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression, reiterating Germany’s support for Ukraine. The military aid is part of Germany’s commitment to stand with Ukraine, with a total funding of €5.4 billion allocated for Ukraine’s defense in 2023, following a contribution of €2 billion in 2022. Despite facing budgetary challenges, the German government had initially planned to double its 2024 aid plan for Ukraine from €4 billion to €8 billion; however, the current budget crisis has cast uncertainty over this proposal.
During the press conference, Pistorius addressed the ongoing discussions about providing Ukraine with Taurus missiles, stating there was no new information on the matter. Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov remarked, “We are still working on it. No decision on Taurus has been made yet.”
In response to questions about the European Union’s artillery shell delivery deadline, Pistorius acknowledged potential delays but emphasized that the German government has added an extra 20,000 155mm artillery shells to its initial commitment of 140,000 for the next year, bringing the total to 160,000. He expressed hope for further increases in 2025.
Pistorius’s visit to Kyiv followed closely US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s announcement of a $100 million military aid package to Ukraine. Umerov, Ukraine’s Defense Minister, expressed gratitude to Germany for its contribution to Ukraine’s air defense and the training of its military personnel. He highlighted the crucial role of air defense systems in maintaining economic stability and enhancing Ukraine’s defense production capabilities.
During his visit, Pistorius toured a military training ground, where he witnessed Ukrainian crews operating the Patriot anti-missile complex provided by Germany.
This recent announcement builds upon a previous statement from November 15, 2023, confirming the delivery of two additional IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine. The IRIS-T SLM medium-range air defense system, developed by the German company Diehl Defense, offers comprehensive 360° protection against a diverse range of threats, including aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, and guided weapons. Its capabilities make it a versatile asset in countering various aerial threats, aligning with Ukraine’s need for a sophisticated and adaptive defense system.
The missile launcher unit of the IRIS-T SLM is mounted on a MAN 8×8 truck chassis, featuring eight missile container launchers arranged in two banks of four missiles. With a maximum firing range of up to 40 km, this air defense system can engage various aerial threats simultaneously. The system’s missiles, based on the IRIS-T air-to-air guided missile, are equipped with advanced image-processing technology for precision and resistance to electronic countermeasures. Additionally, the capability for guidance by onboard radar or the pilot’s helmet visor enhances the system’s flexibility in different operational scenarios, making it a valuable asset for Ukraine’s air defense strategy.
In addition to the air defense systems, the Panzer anti-tank defense mines included in the aid package are most likely the DM22 model, also known as the Panzerabwehrrichtmine Deutsches Modell 22 or PARM 2. Weighing 20 kg, this tripod-mounted off-route anti-tank mine is equipped with an active passive infrared (SAPIR) sensor system, enhancing its tactical utility and effective range from 2 to 40 m to 4 to 100 m. With a 1.9 kg, 110 mm shaped charge warhead, the DM22 is designed to penetrate up to 750 mm of armor, making it effective against both conventional and reactive armor.
Functionally, the DM22 operates as an off-route landmine with a launcher assembly and fin-stabilized warhead assembly. It incorporates an infrared (IR) sensor, the SAPIR, enabling precise rocket firing with ranges of up to 100 m. The mine has a five-minute arming delay and can be command-detonated or triggered by a fiber optic cable, with an anti-tamper arming switch for added security.