Likely delays in arms supply to Ukraine revealed
Ukraine is likely to be further disappointed with the supply of heavy weapons promised to it by Germany, as Berlin will have to overcome various hurdles before delivering many of the items, the German version of Business Insider has reported.
The offer of the IRIS-T SL air defense system, touted by Chancellor Olaf Scholz as one of the most advanced in the German arsenal, reportedly came as a surprise to his own defense ministry. Officials said they none in their stockpile, meaning Ukraine would have to get them directly from Diehl, the producer, the outlet claimed.
According to BI sources, the proposed delivery would require Germany to snub Egypt, which ordered several IRIS-T SLs and allow Ukraine jump the line. Regardless, Kiev will only be able to acquire the equipment by the end of the year at best.
The German arms package for Ukraine also includes a three-way deal with Greece, which is to get German Marder infantry fighting vehicles in exchange for delivering Soviet-made equivalents to Ukraine.
The Greeks were reportedly surprised by Scholz’s announcement of the scheme. The Soviet-era vehicles are in use on their islands and replacing them with more modern German hardware may be perceived as an escalation by Turkey, BI said.
Athens also wants to have the entire order of 50 Marders delivered before relinquishing its old machines to Ukraine, the report said.
The proposed arrangement also reportedly pulled the rug from under the producer of the armor, the German arms giant Rheinmetall, which hoped it could sell the Marders directly to Ukraine.
Germany also wants to supply Kiev with several MARS IIs – an EU version of the US-made M270 MLRS. But according to BI, the goal to have the multiple rocket launchers shipped by the end of June may prove to be unrealistic.
The outlet’s sources said that less than half of the 40 launchers operated by the German military are currently in working condition. And even if the Bundeswehr was willing to part with some of them, their software would need to be upgraded first.
The EU launchers use an Airbus-designed fire control system that’s not compatible with some types of rockets used by version from outside the bloc. A reverse conversion will be required to allow Ukrainians to fire ammunition supplied by the US and the UK. But the process of upgrading the software may take months, the outlet said.
BI assessed that most of the weapons promised to Ukraine by Germany will not be coming anytime soon, with the exception of Flakpanzer Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. It said 15 of those could arrive by mid-July and 15 more by the end of August.
However, they will come with just 59,000 rounds, BI said. Each system has two guns with a combined rate of fire of 1,100 rpm and normally carries 680 total rounds.
Officials in Kiev have repeatedly berated Germany and Chancellor Scholtz personally for what they call insufficient military support of their country against Russia. The disdain apparently was fueled by last month’s announcement that Berlin was planning to invest 100 billion euros into rearming and enlarging its military.