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The federal government has approved the export of 150 Iris-T guided missiles to Saudi Arabia. This comes from a report in the news magazineThe mirrorout. Accordingly, the Federal Security Council approved the export in December, as government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit confirmed. He emphasized that this was not the ground-based Iris-T SLM system, but the variant developed for fighter jets. In fact, the guided missiles now promised to Saudi Arabia are also on Ukraine's list of requirements.

The guided missiles can also be fired in ground-based air defense using the Iris-T SLS system. According to the Federal Government's list of military support items, Ukraine has two Iris-T SLS launchers and is scheduled to receive 22 more in the future. This also results in a correspondingly high demand for Iris-T missiles.

The Saudis have also long expressed interest in ground-based launch devices. The Kingdom currently has the Patriot system in the area of ​​ground-based air defense. On the one hand, this operates in different altitude bands than the Iris-T SLS and SLM systems and is also significantly more expensive per shot.

The monarchy's oil production has been attacked in the last three years by drones and ballistic weapons, which have been repeatedly intercepted from the air by the Saudi Air Force in the past.

Iris-T air-to-air guided missiles that had already been delivered were used. The expected delivery is therefore not a new purchase for the Saudi Air Force, but rather an addition to its own inventory. Guided missiles of this type were delivered to the Gulf state for the first time in 2009.

Die Entscheidung hebt einen seit 2018 durch die Große Koalition beschlossenen Exportstopp auf.

Iris-T is a product of the Baden-Württemberg company Diehl Defense. More than 5,000 missiles have been delivered since its launch in 2005, the company announced in December. Last month, the company also confirmed the pending delivery of 1,200 IRIS-T air-to-air guided missiles to the Bundeswehr.

Iris-T air-to-air missile (illustration: Diehl Defense)

IRIS-T is part of the standard armament of the Eurofighter/Typhoon, of which Saudi Arabia maintains 72 aircraft, and is also compatible with the Panavia Tornado, which is also part of the Saudi air fleet.

Saudi Arabia has been wanting to order 48 more fighter jets for some time and is currently negotiating both the Eurofighter and the French competitor Dassault Rafale. There are more than 50 machines under discussion here.

As part of the Eurofighter development community, the Federal Republic has previously exercised its right of veto on decisions regarding the export of fighter jets produced in Great Britain. Here, too, the federal government has been open to a delivery from Great Britain to Riyadh since last Sunday. (ES&Treported).

Germany's previous stance was based on the role of the Saudi royal family in the Kashoggi murder in 2018 and the actions of the Saudi army in Yemen. The Federal Government explains its changed stance primarily against the background of Saudi Arabia's changing role in the Middle East conflict and the current threat to international maritime traffic. Government spokesman Hebestreit also spoke of a “breaking point on October 7th”. Since then, Saudi Arabia has intercepted several Houthi attacks on Israel. The Saudis themselves are also being attacked with ballistic weapons from Yemen.

Editorial / mg