In order to ensure a steady flow of ammunition for the Ukrainian Flakpanzer Gepard, Germany has decided to restart production of 35 mm shells. The first of the 300,000 German shells should be delivered by July 2023. This decision follows Switzerland's policy of neutrality, prohibiting the export or re-export of ammunition to Ukraine.
On Feb. 14 in Brussels, Boris Pistorius, the German defense minister, was attending a meeting of defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Evere (Brussels, Belgium). During a press briefing, he announced that Germany is preparing to restart production of shells for the Gepard. A contract has already been signed with the German company Rheinmetall, which will be responsible for production.
It should be noted that this announcement does not affect the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) in any way: since 2010, the Flakpanzer Gepard very short-range anti-aircraft system is no longer in service in the Bundeswehr. Instead, Ukraine has received former German Gepards to improve the anti-aircraft defense of its forces. Its two 35mm rapid-fire guns, coupled with the radar system, allow accurate detection and automatic tracking of a wide spectrum of targets in flight, as demonstrated in by the attached tweet.
There was only one major problem: the ammunition. These are produced in Switzerland, and this country, in an assumed neutrality, refuses to deliver them to Ukraine and does not allow a re-export of its ammunition. Surplus German and Norwegian ammunition had been transferred, but it was necessary, in the short term, to be able to ensure an influx of new ammunition. This will be done with Rheinmetall in Germany. In total, approximately 300,000 35mm shells are expected to be produced and a first delivery to Ukraine is scheduled for July 2023.
The Ukrainian Land Forces are using 32 ex-German Gepards and five more are expected to be delivered in 2023.
The cover image shows 6 Romanian Flakpanzer Gepard B2Ls during training in Poland in July 2021. Some use the series of photos from this exercise to announce a destruction in Ukraine, which is therefore not the case.
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