The German government requested help from Brazil to make it possible to send Gepard anti-aircraft armored vehicles to Ukraine. The decision was already made, but it still ran into practical considerations, such as the lack of ammunition.
According to information published by the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, this has been resolved by searching for ammunition in countries that still use the system, such as Brazil.
The manufacturer KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann) has about 50 in stock and only 23,000 35 mm cartridges used by the model’s cannons. That would give just over 20 minutes of operation in just one armored vehicle.
Gepard’s cannons are currently manufactured in Switzerland by Oerlikon. But Switzerland remains neutral in the war between Russia and Ukraine and would not have authorized the export of the ammunition.
What does the armor do?
The Flakpanzer Gepard is classified as a high-tech armored anti-aircraft combat vehicle that attacks targets at low altitude.
This type of armor, the Gepard 1A2, has impressive capabilities:
- two 35mm cannons that fire 1,100 rounds per minute, with an ammunition that reaches 5 km
- passive defense with smoke grenades
- search radar with a range of 15 km, which scans the airspace with the shooting radar and also reaches 15 km
The armored vehicle has a range of 550 km with a maximum speed of 65 km/h — its 985 liter tank makes 600 meters per liter.
There are two engines, the chassis and the auxiliary, which is responsible for powering the observation systems, radars and the armored turret.
Without preparation, it crosses a gap of 0.75 meters, sealed to keep out water. With adjustments, it can reach 2.25 meters.
It can also cross an obstacle 60 degrees in front and 30 degrees from the side. 20mm armor.
He is also known for:
- its high level of protection;
- its high mobility;
- be autonomous (only dependent on logistical support for fuel and ammunition);
- do independent search and tracking sensors;
- NBC level crew protection (nuclear, biological and chemical);
- ability to operate in an environment of electronic interference.
Use in the Brazilian Army
In April 2013, the Brazilian Ministry of Defense purchased 34 Gepard version 1A2s from the German army for the security of major events:
- the World Youth Day with Pope Francis, in July 2013, in Rio de Janeiro
- the 2014 World Cup
- the 2014 Confederations Cup
- the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016
In 2010, the Gepard 1A2s were modernized with new radar and electronics systems that allow the tanks to remain operational until 2030.
Recently, the Brazilian Army had sought out Germany to resell the armored vehicles and even offered them to Qatar, which ended up buying 15 vehicles from Berlin to use to protect the stadiums for the Football World Cup, which will take place in November.
The tank was developed in the 1960s by the German army and fielded in the 70s. Approximately 570 units were produced and are being updated.
It is a variant designed on the platform of the Leopard tank, which was also developed and produced in the 60s/70s by the German industry.
At the time, two companies submitted proposals and prototypes: Oerlikon Contraves (now Rheinmetall Air Defense) and Rheinmetall itself. In 1973, the version chosen was the Oerlikon Contraves with Siemens MPDR12 radar.
The vehicle’s main purpose at the time was defense against Soviet tactical aviation and especially missile-equipped attack helicopters such as the Mi-24 Hind.
In 1996, the German army contracted with KMW to perfect the Gepard.
Added to the vehicle:
- a digital shooting system
- stabilized thermal sights
- datalink connected to an air defense control and monitoring center
- Improved ammunition velocity sensors
The German army retired its last Gepard systems in 2010 to make room for a more modern solution, the GTK “Boxer” multi-role wheeled vehicle.
The version installed a different radar system but lost little of its lethality.
The armies of Brazil, Jordan and Romania still use the Gepard system.