In a meeting held on June 14, the budget committee of the German federal parliament (Bundestag) has given its approval for three armament projects of the German ministry of defence (Bundeswehr). The projects include the procurement of the ground-based air defense system IRIS-T SLM, initial components of the Arrow weapon system, and logistic loading systems that are unrelated to the aforementioned systems. In Germany, significant investments in armaments require parliamentary consideration. Any armaments projects exceeding an investment volume of 25 million euros must be presented to the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag for approval.
Procurement of the IRIS-T Surface-Launched Medium Range Air Defense System The Budget Committee has granted approval for the procurement of six fire units of the ground-based air defense system IRIS-T SLM, including associated missiles and other minor items required for qualification, certification, and related purposes. The total cost of this procurement, amounting to up to €950 million, will be financed from the Bundeswehr’s Special Fund. Delivery of the systems is set to commence as early as 2024. The IRIS-T system will be employed for close-range protection in ground-based air defense operations.
Each fire unit of the IRIS-T SLM weapon system consists of a command post, a radar device, and multiple launch devices for firing the guided missiles. Additional vehicles will be utilized for maintenance and loading purposes. The IRIS-T system is designed to counter airborne threats such as drones, airplanes, helicopters, and cruise missiles. Currently, the system is proving its effectiveness under real combat conditions in Ukraine. Germany has delivered the IRIS-T system to Ukraine to enhance the protection of its population and infrastructure against Russian air attacks. Furthermore, the Bundeswehr is providing training to Ukrainian soldiers on the system within Germany.
The Budget Committee convened to discuss the initiation of the procurement process for the Arrow weapon system, which includes acquiring Arrow 3 guided missiles as interceptors. To facilitate this procurement, a preliminary agreement will be concluded with the Israeli government. The current plan aims to achieve operational qualification for the Bundeswehr by the end of 2025, effectively closing the capability gap in national missile defense as quickly as possible. By the end of 2023, a pre-contractual government agreement will be signed with Israel. To ensure the desired initial qualification is met by the fourth quarter of 2025, the Israeli government must make advance payments and promptly initiate the construction of manufacturing and production facilities.
The Arrow weapons system, developed in collaboration with the United States, consists of a command and control command post, radars, launchers, and guided missiles. It possesses the capability to detect and intercept ballistic missiles from all directions. The Arrow 3 guided missile, specifically designed for long-range threats outside Earth’s atmosphere, employs hit-to-kill technology to directly destroy enemy missiles. With the procurement of the Arrow weapon system, Germany aims to enhance the protection of its population and critical infrastructure while strengthening NATO’s air defense capabilities.
Additionally, the Budget Committee approved the procurement of 164 protected and 203 unprotected swap body systems, each capable of carrying a 15-ton payload, as well as 1,634 swap body platforms with accompanying accessories. These acquisitions will be made under an existing framework agreement, with a total financial requirement of approximately €317.2 million. Delivery of these systems is expected to be completed by November 2023 at the latest, with the swap body platforms being delivered between 2023 and 2025.