Germany has handed over to Ukraine ammunition for Gepard anti-aircraft self-propelled guns, which has just been produced on the production line. This was reported by the press service of the Ministry.
The Ministry of National Defense noted that the construction of the ammunition production line was successfully completed "within an ambitious deadline". This enabled the first delivery to Ukraine of a five-figure number of missiles.
“The war in Ukraine reminds us almost daily that the defense of our country depends on air defenses and enough ammunition. With the resumption of ammunition production for the Cheetah, we are focusing on these two important aspects. I am glad that we started production so quickly and without bureaucratic obstacles,” said Boris Pistorius, Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany.
According to Pistorius, Germany will continue to support Ukraine in areas that are its strengths: artillery, ammunition and ground air defense.
In February this year, Boris Pistorius announced at a meeting in the Ramstein format that Rheinmetall AG, commissioned by the German Ministry of Defense, would restore the production line for the production of Gepard ammunition.
The €168 million contract signed in February provides for the delivery of a total of 300,000 missiles. For this, it was necessary to resume production. The first ammunition was delivered to Ukraine almost seven months after the contract was signed.
As of today, Germany has delivered 46 Gepard installations to Ukraine. Six more are due to arrive in the near future.
On 11 July, during the NATO summit in Vilnius, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced that Germany had provided Ukraine with a new military aid package worth a total of around €700 million.
The first Cheetahs arrived in Ukraine in July 2022. With two 35 mm Oerlikon KDA L/R04 35/90 guns with a combined rate of fire of 1,100 rounds per minute, it is capable of engaging targets at ranges of up to 4 kilometers. At the same time, it is a better self-propelled anti-aircraft system than, for example, the Russian Tunguska.
After Russia launched a campaign of massive attacks using kamikaze missiles and drones, the Cheetahs have established themselves as the best anti-aircraft system to destroy them. Thus, it has become extremely important in protecting key Ukrainian infrastructure.
According to the Conflict Intelligence Team, one of the Cheetahs probably shot down a Russian X-101 missile, seconds before it hit one of Kyiv's power plants on October 18, 2022, saving the city from a critical power outage.
As pointed out by the Royal United Services Institute, the Gepard is much better at destroying swarms of Russian drones and missiles compared to e.g. MANPADS launchers due to the cost-effectiveness ratio when firing ammunition.
Nevertheless, the Ukrainian army did not receive enough ammunition for the Cheetahs. Germany no longer produced it, and countries that still had it in stock, such as Brazil or, above all, Switzerland, did not agree to its transfer. As a result, with the arrival of more Cheetahs and the intensification of the fighting, the Ukrainians had to start counting each 35 mm cannon shell. This limited their effectiveness.