Switzerland is blocking the transfer of 35 mm 35×228 mm shells for the Oerlikon GDF automatic guns, which the Gepard self-propelled guns of the Ukrainian army are equipped with.
Self-propelled anti-aircraft guns Gepard, provided to Ukraine by Germany, proved to be an effective weapon against kamikaze drones Shahed-136 and the Ukrainian military really liked them, as they told Bild. But there is a problem.
Oerlikon GDF guns have a rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute, they simply eat shells. Such a high rate of fire is the key to destroying air targets, but considering how many Iranian UAVs Russian terrorists launch every day… The stock of 35 mm shells, which were not very many anyway, is running out. We are talking about the first batch of 59,000 shells, which Germany literally collected around the world.
35 mm shells for the Oerlikon GDF are produced by Switzerland and are available in Germany. Germany bought 12,000 35×228 mm shells many decades ago and wants to transfer them to Ukraine. Switzerland refuses to grant permission. Similarly, in the spring, Switzerland did not allow Denmark to transfer about two dozen Piranha armored personnel carriers to Ukraine.
Some German politicians, amid the dispute, have already called for the termination of existing agreements on the purchase of arms from Switzerland. So the “Free Democrat” Markus Faber said that any country that does not want to agree to the transfer of weapons to a state that is a victim of aggression cannot be considered a reliable supplier for Germany. “If Switzerland refuses this to Ukraine, … then for security reasons we should not buy anything in Switzerland either,” he said.
In response, Switzerland reminded Germany of the past. Marco Chiesa from the Swiss People’s Party said that “German interference in the politics of other countries has never ended in anything good.”
Former Swiss ambassador to Germany Thomas Borer, who participated in the development of Swiss neutrality legislation, added: “The Swiss government is right-wing. It is clear that supplying weapons to a conflict zone would violate key principles of what neutrality means to Switzerland. Germany, our friendly neighbor, knows about our laws and obligations, and should not put us in such a situation.”
At the same time, the German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht argued in the letter that in this case the weapons are transferred to Ukraine for self-defense, and this is very important, including for the protection of grain export routes from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Germany has not yet received answers.
This is all well, but the problem is that the 30 Gepards of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which defend our cities from drones, will very soon run out of ammunition. 35×228 mm projectiles are also manufactured in Brazil… but there they also did not want to give consent to re-export.
Apparently similar ammunition, and the Gepard consumes not ordinary 35×228 mm shells, but those whose cartridge has a special slot for attaching to the tape links (so-called Gurtrille), also in Norway, but the tests showed that the fire control system does not recognize Norwegian ammunition, so they will need to be refined.
At the same time, it cannot be said that Switzerland does not help Ukraine. Today it became known that the Swiss government allocates an additional 100 million Swiss francs (almost $100 million) to Ukraine for projects to support the urgent restoration of energy infrastructure as part of the action plan for providing assistance to our country in the winter period.
Of course, thank you very much, Switzerland. But can it be better to protect the infrastructure than to repair it later?
Technical specifications of Gepard
Weight – 47.5 tons
Total length – 7.68 m
Width – 3.71 m
Height – 3.29 m
Crew – 3 (driver, gunner, commander)
Armor – ordinary steel
Armament – 2 × 35-mm automatic guns Oerlikon GDF
Ammunition – 320 anti-aircraft ammunition and 20 anti-tank shells
Caliber – 35 mm
Rate of fire – 550 shots/min (per barrel)
Muzzle velocity – 1175 m/s
Maximum effective firing range – 4000 m
2×4 76-mm smoke grenade launchers
Engine – a 10-cylinder multi-fuel MTU engine
Power – 830 hp. (610 kW)
Operational range – 550 km
Maximum speed – 65 km/h