IRIS-T SLM launcher in Ukraine IRIS-T SLM launcher in Ukraine

German military aid to Ukraine — Week 24 / 2024

Two days after the end of the Ukraine Recovery Conference, which was held in Berlin from the 11th to the 12th of June, the German government published the latest deliveries of military equipment to Ukraine over the past approximately three weeks on its own website.

Although various deliveries are missing in some areas that are normally always present, for example Vector UAVs made by Quantum-Systems or the Danish-made RQ-35 Heidrun UAVs, the update published today reads very well.

In other words, the deliveries made in the past three weeks are indeed very comprehensive, as specified in the list below which shows all deliveries in the past approximately three weeks.

  • 1 IRIS-T SLM SAM system
  • 2 IRIS-T SLS launchers
  • 4 anti-drone sensors and jammers
  • 3 M142 HIMARS MLRS
  • 10 Leopard 1A5 MBTs
  • 20 Marder 1A3 IFVs
  • 1 Bergepanzer 2 ARV
  • 2 bridge-laying tanks Biber
  • 16 Mercedes-Benz Zetros tankers (water / fuel)
  • 2 Pionierpanzer 2A1 Dachs AEVs
  • 4 WiSENT 1 MC mine clearing tanks
  • rescue boats
  • material for explosive ordnance disposal
  • 100 night vision goggles
  • 100 CR 308 rifles
  • 85 HLR 338 precision rifles
  • 100 MK 556 assault rifles
  • 21,000 155mm shells
  • 128 155mm smoke shells
  • ammunition for Leopard 1A5 IFVs
  • ammunition for Marder 1A3 IFVs
  • 180,000 rounds of ammunition for HLR 338
  • 4,000,000 rounds of firearm ammunition
  • 3 AMPS self-protection systems for helicopters
  • IT equipment

Urgently needed air defence arrived

After a long wait, a new, highly effective air defence system has finally arrived in Ukraine in the form of an IRIS-T SLM. However, the delivery was already made public by SPIEGEL towards the end of May and confirmed by the German government on the same day, so this delivery came as no surprise.

IRIS-T SLM launcher winter 2022

Two IRIS-T SLS launchers have again been integrated into the IRIS-T SLM air defence system, which has successfully intercepted over 240 targets in Ukraine since it was supplied for the first time in 2022. This was confirmed by the German Ministry of Defence, at least in part, on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Note: The German government is now claiming that IRIS-T SLS systems are being supplied to Ukraine. There is no evidence for this and I take a very critical view of this and would like to point out explicitly that IRIS-T SLS launchers were originally announced. Only recently was the designation changed from launchers to systems and the total amount halved. Therefore, one delivered IRIS-T SLS system in the federal government’s list actually corresponds to two announced IRIS-T SLS launchers.

Additional MLRS, IFVs & MBTs for the frontline

The long-awaited three M142 HIMARS MLRS, which Germany purchased from US Army stocks for Ukraine, have finally arrived. If you look at the Ukrainian loss list of the Oryx project, they were probably intended as replacements for previous losses, as these also amount to three according to Oryx.

Further Marder 1A3 IFVs were also delivered, which are being refurbished for Ukraine by the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall at two different locations in Germany. A total of 120 of the comparatively more modern IFVs have thus been delivered, while only 20 are to be delivered in the future.

According to Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger, the delivery should be completed by September 2024 at the latest. It is also known why the delivery of the remaining 20 Marder 1A3s will take another approximately three months. The IFVs will receive important upgrades after their overhaul.

For the second time within the recent updates, 10 Leopard 1A5 MBTs were also part of the list. Germany is supplying the older Leopard 1 MBTs, which can easily compete with many variants of the T-72, to Ukraine in cooperation with Denmark and the Netherlands.

Leopard 1A5 in Ukraine

However, there were repeated issues with the repair and delivery of the vehicles last year. At least 20 Leopard 1A5s were rejected by Ukraine and had to be returned to the industry because they were severely defective. For some reason, personnel were also forgotten to be trained for the repair of these specific vehicles.

Deliveries to Ukraine were then delayed for several months. Only last month, after around six months, were the MBTs delivered again. The delivery announced today brings the total number in Ukraine to 50. Just for comparison, according to the original plan announced by the German MoD in June last year, 80 were actually due to be delivered by December 2023.

A lot of engineering vehicles to enhance capabilities

In this update, it was also noticeable that the German government wanted to improve the engineering capabilities of the AFU and they definitely did this by supplying numerous adequate vehicles.

Not only was a Bergepanzer 2 ARV supplied, which should be very useful for recovering previously abandoned vehicles, but also for example for maintenance work on vehicles near the front, but also two Pionierpanzer 2A1 Dachs AEVs, two bridge-laying tanks Biber and a total of four WiSENT 1 MC mine-clearing tanks, which were produced by FFG in Flensburg.

You don’t often see these vehicles, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t as important as the MBTs or IFVs you see every day. Almost nothing in warfare happens without proper engineering capabilities.

Bridges have to be built to allow vehicles to be moved across ditches, vehicles abandoned by the enemy can be taken into the own ranks and, thanks to the Pionierpanzer 2A1 Dachs AEVs supplied, trenches can be dug much faster and vehicles that got stuck can be dug out again. Just to name a few real-world examples.

Interestingly, the delivery of the 42 WiSENT 1 MC mine-clearing tanks announced in late 2022 has now been finalised. According to the latest information, no further of these mine-clearing tanks which are based on the Leopard 1 chassis have been ordered from FFG.

Many firearms and even more urgently needed ammunition

Quite a bit of military assistance made by the German arms company C.G. Haenel also reached Ukraine. 285 firearms of various types reached Ukraine in the past three weeks, of which the 85 HLR 338s with their 180,000 rounds of suitable ammunition are particularly interesting.

The long-range precision rifle HLR 338 in service with a Ukrainian soldier at a shooting range
The long-range precision rifle HLR 338 in service with a Ukrainian soldier at a shooting range

These are long-range precision rifles which are in service with Ukrainian special forces and are highly appreciated there. Together with the 100 CR 308 rifles and 100 MK 556 assault rifles, the precision rifles will be responsible for “a few” losses of Russian infantry.

In addition to the usual firearm ammunition and the ammunition for the HLR 338, which I have already mentioned, one thing in particular stands out. From the end of May to mid-June, the German government seems to have supplied a comparatively large amount of 155mm artillery ammunition.

21,000 HE artillery shells are relatively unusual by our standards, but eventually these are precisely the quantities that we are actually working towards. A first glimmer of hope, but we will have to wait another month or two to see whether this will now become the norm or was just a pleasant exception.

Small promises for the future

Also included in the latest update are 50 HLR 338 precision rifles and 1.8 million rounds of firearm ammunition, which have been newly pledged and will be delivered to Ukraine in the future.

In the case of the 50 precision rifles manufactured by the German company C.G. Haenel, it remains to be seen whether more will be ordered or whether an error was made during the updating of the list.

A few weeks ago, Germany’s Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius visited Ukraine and announced that a contract for 100 sniper rifles of a certain type had been signed. It can be assumed that this meant the HLR 338.

Since 100 were announced in Odesa, I also assumed that an additional 100 would be on the list after the next update. But maybe all it takes is some time.

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