The German Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday that it would provide about €1 billion ($1.1 billion)-worth of air defense systems to Ukraine as part of an aid package.
The delivery will include a U.S.-made Patriot air defense system and two IRIS-T surface-to-air systems, along with ten Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks, three Gepard anti-aircraft guns, armored trucks, and ambulances. Berlin further pledged to send more than €20 million in equipment for Ukraine’s special forces.
Germany has already provided a number of Gepard mobile air-defense systems and Leopard 2 MBTs.
“Germany will continue to support Ukraine with what it needs most urgently – air defense, ammunition and tanks,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said, according to Reuters. “With this new ‘winter package’ we are further increasing the operational readiness of the Ukrainian armed forces in the coming months.”
Change of Course for Germany in Ukraine War
This newly pledged support follows an additional €400 million package for Ukraine announced in September that included ammunition, mine-resistant combat vehicles, and drones.
Berlin had initially been reluctant to provide Ukraine with aid, and in the early days of the conflict it limited its support to providing around 5,000 combat helmets. However, since earlier this year, Germany has actually overtaken the UK and Poland in terms of overall support for Kyiv. Its support is surpassed only by the United States.
Germany has also announced that a total of 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers will have been trained in the country by the end of this year.
“I’m grateful to Germany for today’s large military aid package,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a post on X. “As winter approaches, this is exactly the support we need.”
Germany’s announcement came ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, where military aid for Ukraine was expected to be among the topics of discussion.
Ordnance Coming Soon
Germany’s Rheinmetall has also ramped up production of DM33 shells — armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding-sabot rounds that are reportedly able to penetrate around 500mm of steel armor from a distance of 2,000 yards.
As David Axe of Forbes reported, Germany produces even more powerful sabot rounds, including the DM53 and DM63, but the 1980s-vintage Leopard 2 tanks that Ukraine is receiving from its European allies aren’t compatible with the newer rounds.
“A Leopard 2A4’s EMES-15 fire-control system has to know how a sabot round performs in order to calculate the shell’s trajectory for a given range—and aim the gun accordingly,” Axe wrote.
The fire controls of the Leopard 2s from Poland were never updated and are thus unable to fire the newer rounds. It is unclear why those tanks couldn’t be upgraded with a new EMES-15 data card for the DM53 ordnance, but for now, Germany is simply offering to provide a new stockpile of the older sabot rounds.
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A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.