Germany ordered the production of 300,000 35mm rounds for Ukraine

BERLIN, GERMANY — 300,000 35mm rounds would have to be produced in Germany. They are for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine [AFU]. The value of the contract was not mentioned, but the executor of the order will be Germany’s Rheinmetall. All ammunition is for the Gepard short-range mobile air defense systems supplied to Ukraine.

Qatari Gepard SPAAGs may end up in Ukraine after being repurchase
Photo credit: RootNation

The first ammunition will start arriving in the summer. They are the Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot – Tracer [APDS-T] model. 150,000 ammunition of this model will go to Ukraine. Rheinmetall then moved into the production of High Explosive Incendiary – Tracer [HEI-T] ammunition. The process of switching to another manufacturer and producing the product will take time. Rheinmetall says HEI-T will be ready in 2024.

Gepard is a German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. Just over 50 Gepards should be operating on the front in Ukraine. Kyiv received the first three last year at the end of July. The Gepard entered service with the German army in the mid-1970s. Operates with 35 mm ammunition. It is intended to counter low-flying objects – primarily drones and helicopters. Shooting down low-flying aircraft is also possible.

The Gepard is armed with two 35 mm Oerlikon GDF autocannons, each with 320 rounds of anti-air ammunition and 20 rounds of anti-tank. The secondary armament includes two quad 76mm smoke grenade dischargers.

Germany’s Rheinmetall is already working on the modernization of its production facilities. They will have to increase the production capacity of the medium caliber ammunition. Due to the war in Ukraine, there is a high demand for ammunition. It is global and the German company believes that their modernization is what is needed to “load” the Ukrainian Gepards with the necessary ammunition.

Photo: Roberto Caiafa

Rheinmetall is one of the market leaders in the production of this type of ammunition in the world. The company is concentrated on the production of weapon systems for air defense. Over the years, guided missiles, fire control systems, automatic cannons, launchers and more have been produced on the German leader’s production lines.


35mm ammunition for the Gepard is still a problem for the armed forces of Ukraine. In the middle of last year, it became clear that Germany has no stocks of them. Subsequently, Berlin was forced to look for another manufacturer. Switzerland is one of the countries that produce them. But Bern continued to maintain its neutrality. Swiss law does not allow arms to be exported to countries at war.

Berlin later looked for other options. A buyback of 35mm ammunition was in the company’s plans. But the operators at the moment of the idea in the world, and there are still only two. One of them was Qatar, which bought Gepard and ammunition years ago. Berlin hit a snag again and temporarily found a solution through a manufacturer in the Scandinavian countries. Later, the first 35mm Scandinavian ammunition produced misfired. Fire control systems did not recognize them during tests.

After the error was corrected, Ukraine began to gradually receive the necessary 35mm ammunition. It appears that this product is insufficient. Therefore, Berlin awarded the order for this model of ammunition.


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