This is official: Ukraine will receive four IRIS-T air defense systems from Germany. The first set will arrive by the end of this year, followed by two remaining systems early next year.
Germany’s Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen confirmed this information during her interview for Radio NV.
“I am very happy that we will be transmitting four of these systems. It will protect a large space in Ukraine. We have already heard that the first system will be definitely in Ukraine this year, I think the second system as well, and the third and the fourth – then, at the beginning of the new year,” Feldhusen said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had said previously that Germany would deliver modern IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine. The first talks about the possibility of delivering these modern air defense platforms to Ukraine began half a year ago. Specifically, the medium-range versions of the missiles have been mentioned during these earlier statements
IRIS-T SL anti-aircraft missile complex was developed by Diehl BGT Defense in 2014 and is an upgraded version of the original IRIS-T system. The qualification tests of IRIS-T SL have been completed in January 2015. This is a surface-launched medium-range air defense system with the ability to destroy targets at a distance of up to 40 km (25 miles) and at a height of up to 20 km (12 miles). The purpose of the system is to neutralize different types of enemy aircraft, including helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise and ballistic missiles.
IRIS-T is considered one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world. Its SL modification (IRIS-T SL) is a radar-guided version of the missile. Compared to earlier versions, the construction of the missile has been optimized to reduce air drag. The diameter of the rocket motor was increased to 152 mm. Two versions of the missile exist: short-range (SLS) and medium-range (SLM). The operational testing of IRIS-T SLM has been completed in January 2022. IRIS-T SLX (long range) variant is currently under development.
The weapon uses a GPS-based inertial navigation system. During the initial stage of the launch, a radar data link combined with inertial-satellite correction is used for command guidance. During the final stage, IRIS-T SLM uses the interference-resistant IR seeker head.