Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced yesterday that the first of four batteries of the Deihl IRIS-T SLM modern air defence systems had been delivered to Ukraine. The move came following a German Ministry of Defence statement the day before condemning the recent Russian missile attacks on Kyiv and several other cities in Ukraine, which have resulted in civilian injuries and deaths.

The ministry stated that Russia’s behaviour is another unacceptable escalation, and for this reason, it is essential to continue supporting Ukraine in its fight – particularly with modern air defence systems. “The renewed missile fire on Kiev and many other cities makes it clear how important the rapid delivery of air defence systems to Ukraine is,” Lambrecht said. Russia’s strike on cities have mainly been used to terrorise Ukraine’s civilian population.

The IRIS-T SLM system is a medium-range system intended to provide protection against aircraft and missiles at ranges out to 40 km and altitudes up to 20 km. This should enable coverage of larger urban areas. While Ukraine already has a number of inherited Soviet air defence systems which have performed fairly well, and has received a large quantity of Man-Portable Air Defence Systems, the acquisition of IRIS-T-SLM provides some advantages. Firstly, IRIS-T-SLM comes with more modern sensors and command-and-control than many of Ukraine’s existing systems, which could help improve detection ranges and response times. Secondly, in many ways air defence is a numbers game, and the increased quantity of sensors and effectors will also be a key factor in forming an effective defence