Germany seeks 35mm ammunition, otherwise SPAAG for Ukraine is useless

BERLIN, ($1= Euros) — On April 26, we reported that Germany was ready to send heavy artillery to help the Ukrainian armed forces. This is Gepard 1A2 the all-weather-capable self-propelled anti-aircraft gun [SPAAG]. The decision of the German government to send Gepard 1A2 to Ukraine is due to international pressure from NATO members and Germany’s Western partners to help the Ukrainian military with heavy artillery weapons systems.

Photo: Roberto Caiafa

However, it turns out that the problem with sending Gepard 1A2 is not rooted in reluctance on the part of Germany but in the lack of 35mm ammunition. Yes, Germany does not have enough of these ammunitions and there is a significant shortage. Any dispatch of Gepard 1A2 SPAAG without ammunition makes these artillery weapons completely useless. “In Germany, however, there is virtually no stockpile of 35 mm ammunition on the model used by the two Oerlikon guns on these anti-aircraft artillery tanks,” the Spanish online portal InfoDefensa wrote today.

According to the Spaniards, Germany is urgently looking for 35mm ammunition from Brazil, Qatar, and Jordan: the countries that last bought the Gepard 1A2 SPAAG. “If Germany cannot solve this problem quickly, Ukraine will probably have to reject the proposal,” Andriy Melnik, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, said on Wednesday [April 27th].

Brazil and Qatar

The Gepard 1A2 SPAAG was designed in the 1970s, at the height of the Cold War, to shoot down helicopters and planes within 6 kilometers [3.7 miles] and is no longer used by the German military. The 50 armored vehicles offered are stored in the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann warehouse.

Brazil buys Gepard 1A2 SPAAG to protect football stadiums during the 2014 FIFA World Cup from drones and other air threats, the same situation as Qatar, which bought its Gepards for the same purpose to defend the arenas of the tournament, which will start next November.

Gepard 1A2 SPAAG

This is an all-weather-capable German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun [SPAAG] at low altitude. It was developed on the chassis of the Leopard 1 tank and is equipped with 2 × 35 mm Oerlikon GDF autocannon, each with 320 rounds of anti-air ammunition and 20 rounds of anti-tank, 2 × quads 76mm smoke grenade dischargers.

Germany might deliver 35mm autocannon Gepard SPAAG to Ukraine
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Gepard 1A2 SPAAG, which has a fire control radar and a search radar, is designed to conduct air defense of troops at very close distances and altitudes. The system, which has been modernized many times before the 2000s, still functions in the inventory of many countries. The SPAAG is powered by a 10-cylinder, 37,400 cc [2,280 cu in] MTU multi-fuel engine gives a power of 830 HP [819 hp, 610 kW].

The systems removed from the Bundeswehr inventory in 2010 are now in KMW’s warehouses. It is assumed that Gepards, which will be delivered to Ukraine, will be sent from the warehouses of KMW. KMW had previously offered to send its Gepards to Ukraine, but this offer was rejected by the German government.


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