German air defense in Ukraine ‘quickly spends’ the missiles
BERLIN ($1=0.96 Euros) — This October, Berlin sent one of the four IRIS-T anti-aircraft missile systems announced for delivery to Kyiv. The system is needed by the Ukrainian defense in response to the massive Russian missile attacks in recent weeks. We recall that Russia attacked key energy infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, leaving a large part of the local population without electricity.
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These attacks are in response to the blown-up Crimean bridge. Russia claims that the Ukrainian security service is to blame for the bridge bombing. The Kremlin announced that Russia’s response to the bombing of the Crimean bridge would be through “direct or indirect” attacks.
IRIS-T is doing great in Ukraine. This is what Ukrainian officers claim. There were even videos showing the interception and downing of Russian Kalibr missiles. However, Ukraine is about to face an expected problem, according to a senior Ukrainian officer. The spokesman of the command of the Ukrainian Air Force, Mr. Yury Ignat, announced that it would be good if Ukraine had more ammunition for the IRIS-T. Ignat’s statement did not answer whether Ukraine is currently facing a shortage of IRIS-T missiles. But the statement is perhaps a signal that such a shortage will happen sooner or later.
Such doubts intensified after it became clear that the manufacturer of the IRIS-T missiles, Diehl Defense, is aware of the case and is working “to solve it”. The German company is currently in the process of “planning and implementing” the additional missiles for Ukraine. The information is official and published on the German government website.
The need for missiles for IRIS-T for Ukraine is twice as great. In addition to the weekly Russian missile attacks, political circles are currently making arguments for the US to supply Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine. The continuous operation of IRIS-T during Russian attacks may be the reason that the scales were tipped more quickly in favor of Ukraine. But that’s the only reason. Diehl Defense claims that the IRIS-T system works perfectly in combination and network connectivity with the US Patriot, as the latter takes on threats at a higher maximum altitude.
However, a shortage of missiles, which officially does not exist, but is assumed to be quite possible soon, opens up another problem. Whether the German government, apparently late with the “planning and implementation” of the IRIS-T missiles for Ukraine, will be able to serve another looming problem – the spare parts.
It was found that Ukraine loads the delivered self-propelled and wheeled howitzers many times more than its partners. BulgarianMilitary.com wrote that Ukraine has problems using the German PzH 2000 howitzers, precisely because of a shortage of spare parts. A similar problem, with the dynamic use of IRIS-T in Ukraine, is quite possible to reach Kyiv.
But it is not only German-supplied artillery systems that face the same problem. Every self-propelled or towed howitzer delivered by Western partners goes through this complex service process. Some do not recognize the new ammunition, others are forced to change the barrels of the artillery systems several times within months, and others expect their spare parts at any moment to remain operationally capable. The problems are indeed many and are caused by the intense load on the systems. Ukraine, however, with the help of the neighboring countries, has so far managed to cope.
Germany is clearly aware of the current and coming problems. The fact that missiles are currently being produced for Ukraine for their IRIS-T is telling. The question is, will these missiles manage to enter the inventory of the Ukrainian army in time? Will there be a problem of shortage of spare parts again?
Otherwise, Ukraine liked the German IRIS-T system. Maybe that’s why Kyiv asked Berlin for credit and the purchase of 11 batteries of this system in the future.
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