On April 26, Germany announced that it would deliver the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery system to Ukraine
This is the first time that Germany has agreed to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine in response to the Russian military campaign. Gepard systems have been phased out of the German army since 2010.
The Flakpanzer Gepard is an all-weather-capable German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. It was developed in the 1960s, fielded in the 1970s, and has been upgraded several times with the latest electronics. It has been a cornerstone of the air defence of the German Army and a number of other NATO countries. In Germany, the Gepard was replaced by Wiesel 2 Ozelot system with four FIM-92 Stinger or LFK NG missile launchers.
The Gepard system is based on the hull of the Leopard 1 tank with a large fully rotating turret carrying the armament—a pair of 35 mm Oerlikon KDA autocannons and two radar dishes—a general search radar at the rear of the turret and a tracking radar, and laser rangefinder, at the front between the guns. Each gun has a firing rate of 550 rounds/min, which gives a continuous fire time of 37 seconds before running out of ammo.
The guns are 90 calibres long, with a muzzle velocity of 1,440 m/s, giving an effective range of 5.5 km. The KDA autocannon can take two different ammunition types; the usual loading is a mix of 320 AA and 20 AP rounds per gun. Combined rate of fire is 1,100 rounds/min.
The Gepard is based on a slightly modified chassis of the Leopard 1 main battle tank, including the complete drive unit with a 37.4-liter 10-cylinder multi-fuel engine with two mechanical superchargers built by MTU. The Gepard is also equipped with a Daimler-Benz 4-cylinder diesel auxiliary engine for the energy supply system. The vehilce can reach a maximum speed of 65 km/h, a range of 550 km.
The announcement of Gepard deliveries came after reports on Monday that defence company Rheinmetall had requested government approval for the delivery of 100 old Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 88 old Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine.