The German federal government is ready to allow the delivery of anti-aircraft self-propelled units from industrial stocks to Ukraine. According to SPIEGEL, is about the Gepard SPAAG, which is based on Leopard tanks.
Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) wants to continue arms supplies to Ukraine. According to preliminary information, the Minister will announce today at a conference hastily convened by the United States on the Ramstein Air Base that Germany wants to allow the delivery of the Gepard SPAAG to Ukraine. In addition, Ukrainian soldiers will be trained on` Panzerhaubitze 2000 system, which the Netherlands intend to supply to the Ukrainian army.
With these statements, Lambrecht wants to try to soften harsh criticism of Germany’s arms supplies. The federal government has been criticized for weeks for hesitating. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, almost all of his EU counterparts, Ukrainian Defense Minister Reznikov, and NATO Chief Stoltenberg are expected at the US base in Ramstein. The United States has made it clear in advance that it expects more from Europe when it comes to arms supplies to Ukraine. Washington has already promised $3.2 billion in weapons, so they and their partners are looking to find ways to equip Kyiv with “additional opportunities to avert a Russian war of aggression.”
The possible supply of Gepard systems has been discussed for some time. The Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Weapons Plant (KMW) announced back in February that they still have about 50 such self-propelled anti-aircraft guns in their warehouse, which can be delivered to Ukraine after a short overhaul. A corresponding proposal was made to the federal government. KMW chief Ralf Ketzel said at the time that weapons systems could be “restored relatively quickly.”
Used Bundeswehr Gepards have already been resold to KMW in Brazil, where they were used for security at the 2016 Olympics, and to Qatar for security measures at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Romania has also acquired the Gepard SPAAG.
Serial production of Gepard anti-aircraft self-propelled guns began in 1973, the system was modernized in 1996, and in the 2000s it started being withdrawn from service in Germany. Gepard is equipped with 35 mm Oerlikon GDF guns and two radars: search and tracking. Each of the guns has a rate of fire of 550 shots per minute. The length of the barrels is 90 calibers (3.15 m), the muzzle velocity of the shells is 1440 m/s, and the effective range is 5500 m. The ammunition includes 640 shells to hit air targets and 40 armor-piercing shells to shoot at ground targets.