Espreso. Global

What long-range weapons can Germany provide to Ukraine?

23 February, 2024 Friday
17:20

Germany supported the transfer of long-range weapons to Ukraine. However, what can the Bundestag provide if not Taurus missiles?

According to Defense Express, on February 22, the German parliament approved the government's recommendation to provide Ukraine with long-range weapons. This was preceded by the rejection of an opposition proposal with a clear wording that it should be about Taurus cruise missiles, which have been discussed since the summer of 2023.

Everything rests not so much on the will or unwillingness of the German government, but on the banal small number of missiles in combat condition, which are the only long-range weapon of the Bundeswehr - 150 units as of May 2013.

At the same time, talks about resuming production were drowned in a discussion with MBDA Deutschland, which boiled down to the fact that it is better to upgrade it to ensure competitiveness. This is also imposed by the need to integrate the missiles into the Su-24M within 6 months, and if they are to be used immediately for the F-16, it will take 1 to 1.5 years.

Thus, one can only hope that behind the talk of why Germany cannot transfer the Taurus and attempts to explain why it is not a game changer, work was underway behind the scenes to restore the missiles and prepare for their transfer. But if we put aside such hopes, the right question is whether Berlin has any long-range alternatives of any quality.

And technically, the answer may be yes. Because the concept of "long-range weapons" is quite vague. In particular, it is quite possible that Berlin will include Vulcano GLR projectiles with a range of 70 km. Their previous version with a range of up to 50 km in the amount of 255 units was ordered in 2022 and was used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces with PzH 2000 in September 2023. And of course, we will be talking about orders and months for their production.

And we need to understand that Germany has no other options but to order weapons for Ukraine. After all, it has only the Taurus in its arsenal, and that's all the long-range capabilities of the entire Bundeswehr. Therefore, it is quite possible to consider hypothetical options under which the German government would simply order weapons of this class.

And it is quite logical to put Storm Shadow/SCALP in the first place, which are already actively used by the Air Force. Because these missiles are manufactured by the MBDA conglomerate, where the German side has a significant share. In fact, this is the most pragmatic option of all.

And this option is much more effective than, for example, ordering a new promising land-based cruise missile JFS-M for HIMARS for Ukraine, which at best will appear only in 3-4 years.

However, there is another alternative, which has become possible thanks to the launch of cooperation between the Ukrainian defense industry and MBDA Deutschland. Currently, the Ukrainian defense conglomerate and the German division of MBDA have agreed to "jointly explore programs or opportunities for cooperation on air defense systems and concepts, in particular to counter UAVs.”

At the same time, cooperation in the field of long-range weapons may now be quite appropriate in the paradigm of creating cheap, at the cost of less technological sophistication, long-range weapons based on existing models as quickly as possible.

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