Kyiv to get extra air defense systems: Four IRIS-Ts from Berlin
Kyiv will receive additional air defense systems. That’s four IRIS-Ts. They will arrive from Germany as part of a new military aid package announced on May 12 for nearly 2.7 billion euros. Thus, the total number of IRIS-T in Ukraine is expected to reach eight anti-aircraft systems of this model.
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Currently, Ukraine has two IRIS-T systems deployed on its territory. The first was received at the end of 2022. In early 2023, we reported on the first known photo of IRIS-T in Ukraine. The color camouflage suggests that it was intended for export to Egypt.
The second IRIS-T system arrived just a few days ago in Ukraine. According to the German media Der Spiegel, this happened “somewhere around April 16th”. Kyiv Independent reports that the other two from the first tranche should arrive in early 2024 as they need to be produced. This means that whether the war continues or stops, the second tranche of IRIS-Ts will arrive in the next few years.
There are assumptions that the first delivered IRIS-T in October 2022 almost immediately went into service. The IRIS-T is said to have shot down the Russian Kh-101 cruise missile. According to reports, this happened on April 19 in Chernihiv Oblast, which is located 30 km from the capital Kyiv.
In addition to the announced four new IRIS-T for Ukraine, Germany promised the delivery of 30 Leopard 1 tanks, 15 Gepard anti-aircraft self-propelled guns, and over 200 reconnaissance drones. These combat platforms are also included in the nearly 2.7 billion euro aid package.
IRIS-T anti-aircraft systems in Ukraine are of medium range. The operational range of the system is up to 25 km. The speed that develops the interceptor [the missile] reaches Mach 3.0. IRIS-T is a European-developed anti-aircraft system. Italy, Germany, Sweden, Greece, Norway, and Spain are involved in its development.
Germany has the largest share in its development with 49%. Italy and Sweden each have 18%-19% percent participation. Greece participates with 13% and the rest up to 100% is shared between Canada and Norway.
Experts suggest that the joint use of the American Patriot long-range system and the German IRIS-T can build an excellent anti-aircraft umbrella over Kyiv. The two systems interact perfectly and each can take on a different type of target.
They [experts] add that if Ukraine is assisted by Western AWACS [Airborne Warning and Control System] aircraft, the effectiveness of IRIS-T can be increased. This is because in this way the German system, through an external source, can see beyond the capabilities of its radar.
But at the same time, the radar capabilities of IRIS-T will also be increased. Thus, the delivery of a more powerful radar in the guarded area, which could easily become a target for Russian artillery or combat aviation, is not required.
BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that there is another European anti-aircraft system deployed in Ukraine. This is the Norwegian-American NASAMS. This system is also compatible to work with IRIS-T. It also can increase its radar range if it uses external radar sources such as AWACS.
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