According to a report in the “Welt am Sonntag” newspaper, arms deliveries promised by the federal government are clearly being delayed. At the beginning of July, the Ukrainian government applied for the purchase of eleven Iris-T SLM air defense systems from the arms company Diehl Defense, the newspaper reports, citing government circles in Kiev. Just one of these state-of-the-art defensive weapons can protect a large city against attacks from the air.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs in Berlin therefore reacted positively. But the federal government is delaying the approval of necessary financial aid according to the Ukrainian representation. As with all arms exports, however, the decision on approval lies with the Federal Security Council, in which the Chancellery is in charge. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) always has the last word.
One of the systems costs around 140 million euros – for eleven units a good 1.5 billion euros would be due. At the beginning of June, Scholz had promised Ukraine the delivery of such a copy for the “coming weeks” because of the Russian war of aggression. In the meantime, according to information from Kyiv, delivery is only in prospect by the end of the year, the newspaper reports.
Scholz said in a government statement at the time that the Iris system would enable Germany “to protect an entire city from Russian air raids.” Kyiv has long been demanding supplies of anti-aircraft systems from the West after calls for a no-fly zone earlier in the war went unheeded.
The Iris system can repel fighter jets, helicopters and drones within a radius of 40 kilometers and an altitude of 25 kilometers. But short-range missiles and guided missiles, which Russia is currently using to bombard Ukrainian cities, can also be intercepted. It consists of a tracking radar, a control center, a launch pad and the associated 24 infrared-guided missiles.
In another armaments project, however, there is apparently movement. After weeks of efforts, the Chancellery, together with the military department in Norway, found a manufacturer who could produce more ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft tank, the “Spiegel” reported at the weekend. The supply of ammunition for the cheetah was previously considered a problem, as there were only just under 60,000 rounds of the special 35 mm projectiles for the system.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense declined to comment specifically on the report. He merely reiterated that the federal government was “continuously trying to provide sustained support for Ukraine.”
At the end of April, the federal government gave the green light for the delivery of the Gepard tanks, which are no longer used by the Bundeswehr. They come from stocks of the armaments company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). In view of a possible rate of fire of 1000 rounds per minute, the initially available 60,000 rounds were criticized by experts as too low.
Now the production of new ammunition could start quickly, reported the “Spiegel”. The Norwegian manufacturer’s ammunition should be tested next week at the Bundeswehr firing range in Putlos, government sources said.
Germany wants to start delivering a total of 30 Cheetah anti-aircraft tanks from industrial stocks in July, the “Spiegel” reported. They are to be used in Ukraine to protect cities and other so-called critical infrastructure. The ministry’s original schedule called for delivery of the first 15 Gepard tanks by mid-July. The rest should be delivered by the end of August.