Germany will send more advanced weapons to Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz told parliament on Wednesday. Among other items, the government has decided to deliver IRIS-T air defense systems to the country, he said.
The missiles were originally an air-launched European replacement for the US-made AIM-9 Sidewinder. A ground-launched radar-guided variant called IRIS-T SL also exists. There are two versions of the system for short and medium range engagement.
Reports emerged in mid-May that the German government was considering sending such inventory to Ukraine, with sources saying Kiev could deploy them by November.
Scholz said the air defense systems were “the most modern” in the German stockpile and would “enable Ukraine to protect an entire major city from Russian airstrikes.”
Operational testing of medium-range IRIS-T SL was finished in January. Co-developer Sweden deployed the short-range version in 2019.
The chancellor told lawmakers that his government will also provide more counter-battery radars. Such systems are used to detect artillery fire and determine the location from which it came, usually in order to target them in retaliation.
Scholz also announced that Germany will coordinate with the US to deliver its multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine.