German company KMW offers to deliver 50 Flakpanzer Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine

According to information published by the German newspaper Die Welt on February 25, 2022, German armament group Krauss-Maffei Wegman (KMW) could deliver 50 decommissioned Gepard anti-aircraft (Flakpanzer) tanks to Ukraine – relatively quickly, they say. The German federal government has to decide. But a problem would be the training of the crews, as this defense system is somewhat sophisticated.
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Flakpanzer Gepard 1A4 anti-aircraft tank (Picture source: Wikipedia)

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) could supply 50 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks from its own stock to Ukraine. "The decision lies with the federal government," said KMW CEO Ralf Ketzel in a Die Welt interview: "We have around 50 models of the Gepard type in our own stock, which could be made operational again relatively quickly."

The Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard (anti-aircraft cannon tank Cheetah, better known as the Flakpanzer Gepard) is an all-weather-capable German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG). It was developed in the 1960s and fielded in the 1970s, and has been upgraded several times with the latest electronics. It constituted a cornerstone of the air defense of the German Army (Bundeswehr) and a number of other NATO countries. In Germany, the Gepard was phased out in late 2010 and replaced by Wiesel 2 Ozelot Leichtes Flugabwehrsystem (LeFlaSys) with four FIM-92 Stinger or LFK NG missile launchers.

The vehicle is based on the hull of the Leopard 1 tank with a large fully rotating turret carrying the armament—a pair of 35 mm Oerlikon KDA autocannons and the two radar dishes—a general search radar at the rear of the turret and the tracking radar, and a laser rangefinder, at the front between the guns. Each gun has a firing rate of 550 rounds/min, which gives a continuous fire time of 37 seconds before running out of ammo (with 680 rounds for both guns).

The guns are 90 calibers (3.15 m (10 ft 4 in)) long, with a muzzle velocity of 1,440 m/s (4,700 ft/s) (FAPDS—Frangible Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot rounds), giving an effective range of 5,500 m. The KDA autocannon can take two different ammunition types; the usual loading is a mix of 320 AA and 20 AP rounds per gun. The combined rate of fire is 1,100 rounds/min. The electrically driven turret is powered by a 40 kW generator driven by a 4-cylinder, 3.8 liter Mercedes-Benz OM 314 multi-fuel engine.

The Gepard could be used ideally for drone defense in the Russia-Ukraine war, says KMW CEO Ralf Ketzel. It would not be the first export of the model from KMW stocks.