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IRIS-T SLM Air Defence System shoots down 9 out of 10 missiles, says Ukraine, raises the average efficiency

Ukraine has received and is already using the German IRIS-T SLM air defence system. The complex passed the baptism of fire and the test for combat effectiveness in actual combat conditions. All information, as Yuriy Ignat says, will be transferred to Germany. Ukrainian General Staff: Ukraine's air defence is improving, especially in the last few weeks. During massive Russian missile strikes, the Air Force learned how to operate new models of anti-aircraft missile systems.

German IRIS-T SLM air defense system
German IRIS-T SLM air defense system. Image via Energoatom

Denys Shmyhal, the prime minister of Ukraine, praised the German IRIS-T complex, which downs nine out of every ten missiles, as being particularly successful among the military hardware Germany delivered. Shmyhal did not mention the type of missile the system shot down.

German armaments operate flawlessly, defend Ukrainian infrastructure and lives, and perform flawlessly on the battlefield, said Shmyhal at a press briefing at the International Expert Conference on the Restoration, Recovery, and Modernization of Ukraine in Berlin on Tuesday. The IRIS-T system was able to neutralize 9 out of 10 missiles, he said.

The Prime Minister also thanked Germany for being the second largest donor in the military sector.

So says the Ukrainian Air Force

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have become the world’s first operator of the latest German complex. The manufacturer is already receiving feedback on the operation of the air defence system in actual combat conditions, said Yuriy Ignat, the spokesman of the command of the Ukrainian Air Force.

Ukraine expects new batches of German IRIS-T air defence systems in the future. Deliveries are expected within the next few months.

“The complex has eight launch containers. Even one installation equipped with eight missiles is already a powerful enough tool that can destroy air targets: missiles and UAVs that have been flying at us lately,” Ignat said.

IRIS-T is the most modern air defence system the German industry has created. The Bundeswehr still needs to get this air defence system in its arsenal. Diehl Defense developed it along with European partners. The missile range allows the operator to shoot down missiles at a distance of up to 40 km at an altitude of up to 20 km.

The average efficiency of air defence systems in Ukraine

Brigadier General Aleksey Gromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said at a briefing on October 20 that the average effectiveness of Ukraine’s air defence system is 64%.

Gromov said the Ukrainian air defence system destroyed 64% of the incoming missiles. He added that the air defence system shot down 81 of the 126 incoming missiles.

Improving Air Defences

On October 10, Russia fired 83 missiles, 43 of which were shot down by air defences, claims Ukraine. The next day, Russian troops tried to attack six settlements, but the Defense Forces stopped them, said Ukrainian authorities. On October 20, Ukrainian air defence units were claimed to have destroyed 32 air targets in different directions.

Gromov said Ukraine’s air defence is improving, especially in the last few weeks. During massive Russian missile strikes, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine learned a lot about destroying Russian targets and operating new models of anti-aircraft missile systems that can be carried by one person (MANPADS).

When one looks at how the Russians have been using missiles over the past few years, one can see that they have been using them more and more, he said. Most of the time, the Russian Armed Forces used cruise missiles launched from the air. These missiles were never used at all previously, Gromov said adding that about a third of these are Kalibr missiles.

When one looks at how Russia has used Shahed-136 kamikaze drones over the past few days, one can also see a sharp rise in how often they are used, said Gromov. He said that since October 10, Russia had used 176 unmanned aerial vehicles to attack targets in Ukraine. This is 2.5 times more than in the ten days before, he added.

If this is true, the Ukrainian Air Defenses have significantly changed since July. During a briefing on July 26, Yuriy Ignat said that Ukraine was having trouble with missiles that were hard to stop with the air defence systems that were already in place. He noted that the Kh-22, Kha-31, Iskander, Onyx, and other missiles go very fast and are much harder to hit.

A new Missile defence unit under Vostok Command

A new anti-aircraft missile regiment was formed on October 26 as part of the operational command “Vostok” of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This regiment will be deployed to the Poltava region. The new anti-aircraft missile regiment was created to “effectively solve combat” tasks like protecting vital infrastructure, groups of troops, etc., in the eastern parts of Ukraine, said the Ukrainian media. Subunits with “rich experience” in fighting against Russian air targets were added to the regiment, but their make-up was not made public. The kind of anti-aircraft systems the new regiment may operate was also not revealed. As per reports, Pentagon was mulling sending some MIM-23 HAWK anti-aircraft missile systems to Kyiv.

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