Germany delivers Patriot, IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine

ArmyInform / Wikimedia Commons

Germany delivered a Patriot and a second IRIS-T SLM air defense system to Ukraine in April 2023. 

The German federal government announced the delivery of a Patriot system along with missiles on its website dedicated to the armament aid it provides to Ukraine. It was then confirmed by Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, along with Patriot systems from the Netherlands and the United States. 

The Patriot system is designed around a powerful AN/MPQ-53/65 passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar set produced by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies, designed to detect low-cross-section targets and be highly resistant to countermeasures.  

The Patriot has an impressive firing range of approximately 68 kilometers. It can simultaneously track and engage up to 50 targets and combat five targets at the same time, making it a powerful addition to Ukraine’s air defense. 

The delivery of the second IRIS-T SLM was shared by the German news outlet Der Spiegel. The delivery of the air system manufactured by Diehl Defense included a launch pad and 16 guided missiles.  

In June 2022, the German government promised to send the IRIS-T SL air defense system. This modern platform can target and shoot down small air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, such as the Russian 3M-54 Kalibr, with an operational range of 40 kilometers.  

Germany delivered the first of the four systems promised on October 12, 2022. The two remaining are to be delivered by 2024. 

Defending Ukraine against Russian ballistic missiles 

Ukraine is still expecting the delivery of the SAMP/T [also called MAMBA – ed. note] promised by France and Italy. The MAMBA system can track 100 trajectories and engage 10 of them simultaneously, with up to 48 missiles ready to fire. The Aster 30 missile it employs, developed by MBDA, can hit aircraft up to 120 kilometers away and ballistic missiles at 30 kilometers.  The delivery is expected for spring 2023.  

Both the Patriot and the MAMBA systems were highly anticipated with their capacity to intercept ballistic missiles. One of these missiles, a Kh-22 anti-ship missile armed with a 1-ton warhead, killed at least 45 people in Dnipro, central Ukraine, on January 13, 2023.  

“Since the beginning of Russian military aggression against Ukraine, more than 210 such missiles have been launched; none of them were intercepted by air defense equipment,” said Lieutenant General Nikolai Oleshuk, Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, at the time. “Only anti-aircraft missile systems, which in the future may be provided to Ukraine by Western partners (systems such as the Patriot PAC-3 or the SAMP-T), are capable of intercepting these air targets.”   

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