More than doubling its outstanding donations, Germany will send six of its 21 in service Sea King multi-purpose helicopters and 80 Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of the $8.2bn (€7.5bn) in new commitments coming out of the 18th Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) meeting held on 23 January 2024. 

Signalling a commitment to a long-term engagement, Germany has also agreed to train 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in Germany.

“The fact that Putin still accepts the infinite suffering of Ukrainians for his war of aggression must not leave us cold,” said German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius. “Therefore, there can be two conclusions, for me in particular: For the protection of the Ukrainian population and infrastructure, air defence remains the number 1 priority. In addition, we need more speed in arms production.”

At the UDCG, Pistorius highlighted the Sea King helicopter’s status as a proven and robust rotary aircraft with capabilities for reconnaissance over the Black Sea and troop transport. 

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By GlobalData

With a range of 1,500km, Sea King Helicopter is a workhorse airframe for German naval pilots that has been in service since the 1970’s, mainly in the service of search and rescue missions in maritime areas, but also for the transport of troops. Armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun, the 22.1m long airframe can carry up to 20 passengers in addition to a crew of four. For self defence, it is equipped with a chaff dispensing countermeasure set, the AN/ALE-37A, externally mounted. 

Pistorius also reiterated Germany’s commitment to supporting Ukraine through action as the joint-leader of the Air Defence capability coalition, in conjunction with France. 

Previous standing commitments from Germany to Ukraine amount to approximately $5.4bn, expected to be delivered by 2028. The new commitment announced for 2024, is an additional $8.2bn, more than doubling the military aid still to come, and making Germany the largest military supporter in Europe and the world’s second largest behind the USA.

Since the war in Ukraine began in February 2022, the value of German military deliveries to Ukraine have amounted to $6.5bn, with completed deliveries of anti-aircraft and air-defence systems having a total value of over $2.4bn alone. 

Significant deliveries include the levies of 18 battle tanks Leopard 2 A6, 20  Marder 1 A3 infantry fighting vehicles, 14 howitzers 2000 tanks , 5 MARS II multiple launch Rocket systems, and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.  

There were also another 60 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 52 Cheetah anti-aircraft tanks from industrial stocks, financed through the training budget for military aid to partner states.

These direct exchanges do not include the stocks put forward as part of ring exchanges, reciprocal arrangements where the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Greece received armaments from Germany and in turn quickly contributed to the support of Ukraine at the beginning of the war.