December 14, 2023 – The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag has approved the purchase of new missiles for various weapon systems. In addition, the development of a new ground-based air defence system for land operations can begin – the successor to the Gepard anti-aircraft gun tank.
The Air Force’s Eurofighters and Tornados are armed with the IRIS-T air-to-air missile to engage air targets at short ranges. The missile, which is almost 3 meters long, has an infrared seeker head that can distinguish between the target’s heat source and infrared decoys. These proven short-range missiles have been in use since 2005.
The 120 missiles plus accessories ordered are to replace those provided as part of Ukraine support. The Bundeswehr is giving 120 missiles to Ukraine for its defence against the Russian aggression. That is why the new missiles are now being financed for around 108 million euros from the upgrade title in Section 60. Partner states are supported with military material through the Federal Government’s strengthening initiative.
The missiles are scheduled to be delivered in 2026. The initial 120 missiles are part of a framework agreement with the manufacturer for the possible production and delivery of up to 1,280 missiles.
Missile for Patriot Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target system
The committee also approved the purchase of 500 missiles with spare parts for the Patriot Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target anti-aircraft missile system. Patriot Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target can engage aircraft, missiles and cruise missiles. The mobile weapon system was used in particular to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank, but was also delivered to Ukraine.
A total of 3.01 billion euros will now be invested. Four hundred missiles will be purchased for around 2.4 billion euros over the next few years via the Bundeswehr special fund and will then be further financed through the regular defence budget. Funding of around 602 million euros for 100 missiles comes from the upgrade title, as this number was also given to Ukraine.
Procurement is carried out via the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). Other nations are also participating in the agreement with the manufacturer. Delivery of the missiles is scheduled to take place between 2027 and 2033.
Eurofighter armament: Meteor is to receive an update
In order to maintain superiority in air combat into the 2040s, the Bundeswehr can also commission studies to update the Meteor air-to-air missile. The Air Force’s Eurofighters are armed with Meteor missiles. The fighter jet pilots can also use them to engage targets beyond their field of vision.
For example, possible adjustments to the radar homing head, the propulsion system, the data link and the warhead are now being analyzed for 34.9 million euros. The investigations are scheduled to begin next year and the reports on the adaptation options will be available in 2025. Five other European nations are involved in the project.
Until the Army’s anti-aircraft defence force was disbanded, the Gepard anti-aircraft SP artillery system was one of the main weapon systems to accompany armoured and mechanised infantry units and to protect them from attacking aircraft and helicopters at low altitudes. It was in use until 2010.
Ukraine’s defence against Russian aggression underlined how important mobile and protected air defence systems are for national and alliance defence: discarded Gepard tanks were put back into service and delivered to Ukraine to combat air targets there.
Source German Ministry of Defence
Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Photo courtesy German MoD