Speaking in the Bundestag today, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the German government would provide Ukraine with a tactical medium-range air defense system IRIS-T SLM. In addition, Germany allegedly supports the US initiative to hand over multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) to Ukraine and is ready to provide four such launchers. According to German media, it is a MARS-II, which is essentially a licensed version of the American M270 MLRS with some modifications.
The MARS-II can use up to 12 240 mm jet munitions and hit targets at a maximum distance of up to 84 km, launching the entire ammunition in 55 seconds. The crew of the system consists of 3 people, its maximum speed reaches 50 km/h, and the range is 400 km.
IRIS-T SLM is a tactical medium-range air defense system based on the IRIS-T SL anti-aircraft missile (SAM), as well as radar systems and fire control systems. The Chancellor called it the most modern air defense system in Germany.
“This will allow Ukraine to protect the entire city from Russian air strikes,” Scholz said.
Indeed, the Ukrainian authorities have long requested the supply of anti-aircraft systems to protect against attacks by Russian fighters, helicopters and missiles. However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Annalena Baerbok has already said that it will take months to supply IRIS-T SLM to Ukraine, as this should be done by the manufacturer Diehl Defense.
With MARS-II, the situation is supposedly better, because they do not need to be produced, they must be transferred directly to the Bundeswehr, although it is not a fact that this will happen quickly.
In the last few weeks, the German federal government has already committed to supplying heavy weapons: 50 anti-aircraft self-propelled guns <Gepardand 7 self-propelled howitzers Panzerhaubitze 2000 – modern artillery weapons with a range of up to 40 kilometers. But they were never delivered. However, this does not stop the Chancellor from making new promises, in his speech he also announced the supply of unnamed self-propelled howitzers.
“In the coming weeks, we will deliver to Ukraine twelve of the world’s most modern self-propelled howitzers in close cooperation with the Dutch,” Scholz said.
The training of Ukrainian fighters for their use is supposed to be completed in a few days.
Because of this situation, the opposition has repeatedly accused Scholz of hesitation in recent weeks. “You’ve been saying a little more than usual lately, but you’re still not doing anything,” said opposition leader Friedrich Merz. He criticized Scholz for saying that Russia should not win the war instead of simply saying, “Ukraine must win.”