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Germany supplies Ukraine with Gepard projectiles from new production line

Germany supplies Ukraine with Gepard projectiles from new production line Photo: Ukraine received shells for Gepard (Getty Images)

Germany handed Ukraine tens of thousands of ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft system. The projectiles were manufactured by the new production line of the Rheinmetall company, according to the Ministry of Defense of Germany.

Ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft system, which is successfully used in Ukraine to repel Russian attacks, in particular on civilian objects, is now produced in Germany. Previously, supplies to Germany came from Switzerland. However, this country repeatedly refused to transfer them to Ukraine.

As Defense Minister Boris Pistorius noted, Germany will continue to support Ukraine in areas that are its strengths: artillery, ammunition, and ground-based air defense.

"I am pleased that we got the production off the ground so quickly and unbureaucratically, and I would like to thank everyone involved for the excellent work. We are showing once again that you can rely on Germany," he said.

New initiative

In February 2023, the German Defense Minister announced the creation of a new production line during a meeting of the Contact Group on Defense with Ukraine in Brussels.

A contract signed in February with a budget of 168 million euros includes the supply of a total of 300,000 munitions. To achieve this, it was necessary to refurbish the production of old munitions using new resources. Despite this complex process, the first munitions were successfully delivered to Ukraine nearly 7 months after the contract was signed.

As of today, Germany has supplied Kyiv with 46 Gepard anti-aircraft systems and will deliver an additional six. The Gepard system has been successfully employed in Ukraine, particularly for defense against drones and protecting critical infrastructure from potential attacks by Russian armed forces.

Two types of ammunition are provided to Ukraine for this system. On one hand, there are 150,000 rounds of sub-caliber APDS-T (Armor-Piercing-Discarding-Sabot - Tracer) ammunition, which contains penetrators made of heavy metals and is particularly suitable for engaging armored targets. On the other hand, there are 150,000 rounds of traditional HEI-T (High-Explosive-Incendiary - Tracer) ammunition designed for targeting anti-aircraft objectives. These are used to combat airborne threats such as aircraft or guided missiles.

Production of munitions

The defense conglomerate Rheinmetall launched a new production line at its Unterlüß plant in Lower Saxony, Germany, to boost the production of anti-aircraft munitions within several months. In total, Rheinmetall had pledged to supply Ukraine with 300,000 rounds of 35mm caliber ammunition for the Gepard. However, only 40,000 rounds are slated for delivery this year. Switzerland has refused to approve the export of Gepard munitions produced within its territory to Ukraine. At the beginning of 2023, the German Ministry of Defense stated that the stockpile of ammunition for German-made Gepard systems should suffice until summer.