Berlin, 10 January 2024 (TDI): Germany’s ruling coalition gave the green light for the sale of 150 IRIS-T missiles to Saudi Arabia. This IRIS-T Missile Sale marks the first weapons shipment approved by the Berlin government to the Gulf nation in over five years.
The IRIS-T Missile Sale was authorized by Germany’s federal security council in December. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s main spokesperson, Steffen Hebestreit, confirmed the approval during the regular government press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.
In late 2018, Germany halted sending weapons to Saudi Arabia due to its role in the Yemen conflict and journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. However, they are now changing this decision, aiming to reward Riyadh for its recent support for Israel.
Scholz’s government indicated this week that it is ready to support selling more Eurofighter planes to Saudi Arabia. However, they mentioned it could take several years for the deliveries to happen.
The IRIS-T missiles are made through a collaboration involving companies from Germany, Greece, Norway, Italy, Spain, and Sweden, with Diehl Defence GmbH & Co. KG in Germany as the main contractor.
IRIS-T is an advanced short-range air-to-air missile. It’s highly maneuverable and has an innovative infrared seeker, thrust-vector control, and a motor optimized for dogfights. This allows the engagement of targets from close range to maximum distance.
IRIS-T is an advanced missile that outperforms its earlier versions. It can move more easily and has better areas for aiming and shooting. It can spot targets from farther away, has improved accuracy and destructive power, and is better at resisting enemy defenses. IRIS-T can even hit targets behind the plane that launched it, and it can be used both before and after being launched while still being effective.
Germany, Greece, Norway, Italy, Spain, and Sweden are working together on the IRIS-T program. The goal is to share technology and expertise, and the main contractor for the project is Diehl Defense.
The German government has given its approval for several weapons deliveries, as reported by individuals with knowledge of the decisions. The list includes an extra submarine from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems GmbH destined for Israel, emphasizing Germany’s commitment to defense cooperation.
Additionally, three mine-hunting vessels sourced from the German armed forces’ stocks are set to be delivered to Pakistan. Moreover, a shipment of 300 RGW 90 shoulder-launched, anti-tank weapons, valued at approximately 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million), has been greenlit for transfer to Georgia, reflecting Germany’s involvement in the international arms trade.