Luftabwehr: Rheinmetall liefert Munition für Flakpanzer Gepard an Ukraine
DThe German defense company Rheinmetall has delivered newly produced ammunition for the anti-aircraft tank Gepard to Ukraine for the first time in Germany. The company and the Federal Ministry of Defense announced this on Tuesday. In February, the ministry commissioned the DAX company to deliver a total of 300,000 rounds of ammunition worth 168 million euros, and now the first five-digit number of cartridges has been delivered to the country attacked by Russia.
The defense company aims to produce and deliver 40,000 units at its Unterlüß location in Lower Saxony by the end of the year. Previously, Rheinmetall manufactured the cartridges in Switzerland due to the country’s neutrality policy, which prohibited the export of military goods. As a result, the company had to establish a new production facility in its home country. In Germany, the production of ammunition for the anti-aircraft tank had ceased a long time ago, as the Gepard systems were decommissioned approximately 15 years ago.
In der Ukraine ist die 35-Millimeter-Zwillingskanone des Flakpanzers allerdings sehr wichtig für die Luftverteidigung – weil die Flakpanzer praktisch rund um die Uhr versuchten, russische Drohnen abzuschießen, sei der Munitionsbedarf entsprechend hoch.
The construction of the ammunition production was not only a challenge due to the short-term investment, but also because the previous tools were missing. Therefore, existing 35-millimeter ammunition for the infantry fighting vehicle’s onboard weapon was now being produced as new ammunition for the anti-aircraft tanks. „Despite their still very good performance, the electronics and fire control of the aging anti-aircraft tank, which was developed in the 1960s, presented themselves as a black box,“ said the Rheinmetall statement on Tuesday. At the same time, the company tried to establish the supply chain for the new ammunition in a way that the value-added share of Switzerland could be „reduced as much as possible“.
Meanwhile, not only in the construction but also in the operation of the F-35 fighter jets ordered by the federal government, more German companies could participate. In addition to Rheinmetall, which is building a factory in Weeze to produce so-called fuselage components for the American fighter jet, Lufthansa Technik could be commissioned by manufacturer Lockheed Martin for maintenance, according to the „Business Insider“ portal. The company has not commented on this.