Diehl Defence has secured a contract with the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) to supply the IRIS-T SLM medium-range air defence system to Slovenia, according to a release from the manufacturer on 26 January 2024.

Signed on January 25, the deal contributes to the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI), aimed at strengthening ground-based air defence across Europe. Slovenia was the first of 19 members of the initiative to sign a program initiative with Germany for the purchase of the IRIS-T, reaching an agreement on 6 December, 2023.

ESSI, initiated by Germany in August 2022, focuses on improving Nato interoperability and creating synergies through joint procurements. The initiative has attracted interest from 19 European states, including Austria, Switzerland, and 17 NATO countries. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on joint public procurement of air defence systems within the framework of ESSI in August 2023.

The IRIS-T system is characterised by its tactical mobility, deployability of missile launchers, and capacity to engage multiple targets with a reduced personnel requirement. Under the agreement, Slovenia will receive a fire unit comprising a radar component, a tactical operations centre, four missile launchers, IRIS-T SL guided missiles, and logistic support. 

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By GlobalData

Following delivery, Slovenia’s air defence capabilities will be enhanced to counter threats from enemy aircraft within a range of up to 40 km and an altitude of up to 20 km. 

Slovenia follows Germany, Estonia, and Latvia as the fourth nation to enter into a contract with Diehl Defence for the IRIS-T SLM systems.