On October 10, Germany announced that it would provide the first of four IRIS-T SLM air defense systems to Ukraine “in the next few days,” despite reports indicating its ammunition inventory is running low.
“The renewed rocket fire on Kyiv and the many other cities makes it clear how important it is to deliver air defense systems to Ukraine quickly,” German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a statement.
“Russia’s missile and drone attacks primarily terrorize the civilian population. That is why we are now supporting them with anti-aircraft weapons in particular,” she added.
Diehl Defense’s IRIS-T SLM is a land-based air defense system that employs modified short-range guided missiles. It can strike airplanes, helicopters, cruise missiles, jet artillery, drones, anti-radar missiles, and bombs.
The recent attacks on Ukrainian cities and strategic infrastructure on Monday are anticipated to increase Ukraine’s requests for more advanced air defense systems from its allies.
The latest development, however, occurs when reports in German media claim that the nation is unprepared for a proactive armed confrontation since its ammunition supply would only last for two days.
Eva Hoegl, the defense commissioner for the German parliament, told Business Insider (BI) that Germany required 20 billion euros ($19.8 billion) to purchase enough ammunition to meet NATO requirements.
“At the same time, we do not have enough storage capacity. This shows that more efforts need to be taken,” she said.
The NATO goal of stockpiling adequate ammunition for 30 days of battle is far from being met by Germany. In addition, the federal government has been providing Ukraine with arms from the Bundeswehr’s stockpile.
Following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in February, Germany and many other Western countries began providing ammunition and weaponry to Ukraine, exhausting their stockpiles.
Hans Christoph Atzpodien, CEO of the German Security and Defense Industry Association (BDSV), told the BI that the issue with the shortfall “will not improve if ammunition is removed from Bundeswehr stocks while corresponding orders are not placed on the defense industry at the same time.”
The report, citing sources, claimed that there had been “no significant orders” for defense businesses to manufacture more arms.
Germany Hesitates To Supply Weapons To Ukraine?
Ukraine relies heavily on Western weapons systems to combat Russian soldiers. And its Western allies, primarily NATO countries, have separately supplied Ukraine with an extensive array of military weapons.
Germany has already sent many weapons to Ukraine, including 50 bunker-buster missiles, 21.8 million rounds for firearms, and 53,000 rounds for self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. However, the country expresses its unwillingness to give Kyiv heavy weapons.
In August, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stated that Germany could not supply more weapons to Ukraine from its military stockpiles because of severe equipment shortages.
On the other hand, Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, claimed in September that Berlin had disregarded Kyiv’s requests for Leopard tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles and provided only “abstract fears and excuses.”
In April, Germany promised Ukraine to supply Leopard tanks and Marder fighting vehicles. It recommended setting up an exchange arrangement rather than sending them directly.
The idea was for NATO countries like Poland or Slovakia to supply Ukraine with outmoded Soviet-era tanks like the Leopard 1s and for Germany to resupply them with its more modern equivalent weapons like the Leopard 2s.
Germany defended its plan to transfer older weapons by arguing that Ukraine’s military was accustomed to Soviet-era gear and that it should only be supplied with that. The only issue with the plan is that the exchange of arms has primarily fallen through, and as a result, Germany is now dealing with criticism from both inside and outside the country.
There has been increasing pressure on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to decide on the delivery of these weapons to Ukraine. Christine Lambrecht, the defense minister of Germany, earlier remarked that it was “not so simple” to deliver more heavy weapons to Ukraine.
“It’s not so simple to say: I’ll risk that we won’t be able to act, the defense of the country, by giving everything away. No, I won’t do that,” she said. “But we have other possibilities, from industry, with our partners,” Deutsche Welle quoted her as saying.
That being said, Germany is not the only nation with a low stockpile of ammunition; France has also reportedly faced a similar situation.
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