German Gepard SPAAG works together with Soviet Osa-AKM in Ukraine

KYIV ($1=36.73 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — The skies above the territories not occupied by Russia in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine are guarded by two completely different air defense systems. The Ukrainian online portal mil.in.ua says that in joint work the Ukrainian armed forces harnessed the German Gepard SPAAG and the Soviet Osa-AKM SAM, which is in service in Ukraine.

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

The two systems are completely incompatible in terms of technology, data transmission, radars used, and functionality. Ammo can’t be compatible either. However, the lack of delivery of quality air defense systems forces the command of the Ukrainian army in Kharkiv to make similar decisions.

Most likely, the Gepard SPAAG is designed for low-flying enemy targets. This means drones or loitering ammunition. Depending on altitude, Russian aircraft and helicopters may also come within range of the system. However, the German Cheetah has a maximum range of up to 4 km but is most useful at its minimum range, which starts at 100 meters. Osa-AKM is also a low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system, but helicopters, planes, and fighters are within its range at least at a distance of 13-15 km.

Thus, the Ukrainian armed forces use two different systems against objects flying at different heights.

There were problems

The Ukrainians reported today that they already have 30 such installations and at least about 50,000 35mm ammunition for them. But that was not the situation at the beginning and middle of the year.

As BulgarianMilitary.com has repeatedly written, the first deliveries of Gepard arrived without ammunition. Thus rendered useless. It turned out, according to German media, that the 35mm ammunition was exhausted in the German warehouses and Berlin was forced to look for other suppliers.

Thus, a Norwegian manufacturer of 35mm shells appeared later. But later it was found that the Norwegian ammunition is not recognized by the weapon system and it cannot fire them. Sources claim that joint tests of Gepard SPAAG ammunition and anti-aircraft self-propelled guns took place in Germany.

Germany-seeks-35mm-ammunition,-otherwise-SPAAG-for-Ukraine-is-useless
Photo: Roberto Caiafa

The problem was later resolved at the end of August when the ammunition became compatible with the German system and went to Ukraine.

Gepard 1A2 SPAAG

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

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.

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.

9K33M3 Osa-AKM SAM

Ukraine to receive Strela-3 MANPADS, 9K33 Osa, and S-300 SAMs
Photo credit: Wikipedia

9K33 Osa is a highly mobile, low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system developed during the Soviet era in the late 6’s and early 70’s of the last century. The system has extensive proven combat experience, having participated in almost all military conflicts from the 1980s to the present day, including the recent military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria, and the Libyan civil war in 2020.

According to unofficial information, a total of 1,200 units of this system have been built. It is powered by a D20K300 diesel engine, which provides a top speed of 80 km / h. 9K33 Osa weighs 17.5 tons and includes a crew of 5 soldiers. The armament of the 9K33 Osa consists of 6 9M33, 9M33M1, 9M33M2, or 9M33M3 missiles that ensure an operational range of 30 km. Currently, 9K33 Osa is in service in 24 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

9K33M3 Osa-AKM [US DoD designation SA-8B Gecko Mod-1] with TELAR 9A33BM3 and missiles 9M33M3 was introduced in 1980 with the maximum range extended to 15 km [9.3 mi] and maximum altitude to 12 km [40,000 ft]. Most OSA-AKM systems also feature an IFF antenna.

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