Ukraine's missile defense system makes a splash with the Iris-T
Ukraine's missile defense system makes a splash with the Iris-T
© Dhiel Defense

| Gaétan Powis | Source : Air&Cosmos 563 mots

Ukraine's missile defense system makes a splash with the Iris-T

The recent Russian cruise missile strikes are also accompanied by numerous videos of interceptions. With the increase in quantity but also and above all in quality of the equipment delivered, the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defence is gradually becoming more powerful. The German Iris-T medium-range system seems to be particularly effective against Russian air targets.

Intensive strikes

During the past few days, Ukraine has suffered several waves of Russian cruise missiles. This was particularly the case on November 15, with more than 100 missiles launched. These are mainly aimed at strategic targets: power plants, railway or road junctions, etc., but also fall on buildings without any military value, namely residential buildings, water distribution systems, etc.

This Russian activity is also accompanied by an increase in the reactivity of the Ukrainian air defense, several of whose systems are capable of intercepting missiles. Videos of Russian cruise missile interceptions have in fact been increasingly published for some time, helping to confirm this increase in Ukrainian anti-aircraft (or rather anti-missile) activity. 

One system, however, seems to stand out from the crowd: the Iris-T anti-aircraft system. Germany had promised to deliver four launchers to Ukraine, but these could not be delivered directly. However, with the strikes at the beginning of October, Germany had announced to increase the speed of delivery of the first launcher. This one was in battery not far from Kiev on October 19 since a remnant of anti-aircraft missile from this system was found in the woods of the capital. The videos below are just a few examples of the videos about the Iris-T in Ukraine.

It should be noted that the tweet on the right does not clearly identify the target shot. On the other hand, the area seems similar between the two videos.

Ukrainian ramp-up

Eventually, then, the Ukrainians should receive a total of 4 launchers, one of which has already been delivered.  As a reminder, the Iris-T is an anti-aircraft system developed and produced by Dhiel Defense. There are 2 versions;

  • SLS (short range)
  • SLM (short to medium range)

Overall, the Ukrainians announce that they have intercepted 80% of Russian missiles. However, this success rate is global; apart from some American NASAMS, Spanish and Italian Aspide and German IRIS-T, the Ukrainian Armed Forces use anti-aircraft systems of Soviet origin whose accuracy is in no way equivalent to these latest generation systems. In fact, their delivery allows an increase in the interception of missiles or other Russian munitions (Shahed-136 of Iranian origin for example). Some Ukrainian officials speak of an impressive interception rate of over 95% for the Iris-T. It should be noted that in addition to the promised or already delivered systems (article on the subject), these modern or latest-generation systems will soon be joined by modernized U.S. MIM-23 Hawk anti-aircraft systems (more info here) and 4 Avengers. The latter system is a HUMVEEE equipped with a turret including 8 Stinger short-range surface-to-air missiles and 1 FN Herstal .50 caliber machine gun. This system will be most useful against the Iranian-origin Shahed-136.

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