RUSI reports: German 80s SPAAG is the antidote to Russian kamikazes

PANAGYURISHTE ($1=1.88 Bulgarian Levs) — Russian missile attacks in Ukraine in recent weeks, especially at the beginning of the month, have been accompanied by tandem work with Iranian Shahed and Russian Lancet drones. Both models of unmanned vehicles are loitering munitions, i.e. kamikaze drones.

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

The attacks are aimed at paralyzing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. And they succeeded – a large part of the country immediately after the attacks was left without electricity. Although, Kyiv is trying to solve its energy problems, there are still settlements “in the dark”.

Kyiv began receiving anti-aircraft missile systems. German IRIS-Ts, US-Norwegian NASAMS, and Soviet-era S-300s can counter cruise missiles, but have a hard time dealing with drones. Flying at low altitudes, and avoiding radars, drones are mostly shot down by anti-aircraft guns.

RUSI reports

According to a report by Dr. Justin Bronk, Mr. Nick Reynolds, and Dr. Jack Watling, the German Flakpanzer Gepard double-barreled self-propelled anti-aircraft system [SPAAG] is the antidote to Shehed and Lancet. These systems were promised and partially delivered to Ukraine by Germany. 50 units were promised, and 30 are currently operating in Ukraine. Most likely, Berlin will deliver the remaining 20 units to Kyiv in the coming months.

Most recently, the German embassy in Ukraine announced, via the social network Twitter, that the Gepards they supplied are doing great against Iran’s Shahed-136 drones. This news completely coincides with the analysis of the three experts that the German mobile anti-aircraft guns are very suitable against low-flying enemy air objects.

The Ukrainians have felt the power of the German system against low-flying objects. BulgarianMilitary.com reported in September about an “unexpectedly good combination” – German Gepard and Soviet Osa-AKM SAM. The skies above the Kharkiv region of Ukraine were protected from Russian attacks, according to Ukrainian sources at the time. The two systems are completely different and not interchangeable, but complementary. The Soviet Osa-AKM detects and engages targets at a distance of eight to nine miles, while the German Gepard fires double streams of 35mm shells at a distance of up to three miles.

35mm ammunition problem

Ukraine, as well as Germany, will have to solve a complex equation: the supply of 35mm ammunition. The originals are made in Switzerland. Bern refused to take a position in the war and declared neutrality. This prevented the supply of 35mm ammunition for the German Gepard. Initially, Berlin decided to look for ammunition stocks around the world, but this also proved to be a problem – there are almost none.

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

Norway came to the rescue by promising to develop compatible ammunition for the Gepard. It did, but the first quantities proved inconsistent and the German system was again forced out of active combat. It turned out that the Gepard fire control system simply did not recognize the projectile. Later, BulgarianMilitary.com reported that the problem was solved with newly manufactured Norwegian ammunition.

However, how quickly the Norwegians can produce large quantities of 35mm ammunition against the background of the active use of Gepard on the front remains a quantity that is not currently in favor of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Football World Cup 2022

Fact: The German Gepard is indeed considered an excellent counter to low-flying air threats. Proof of this is that Qatar bought several systems from Germany years ago to guard the stadiums of the Football World Cup 2022 from drones, which is currently taking place.

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