The anti-aircraft armored fighting vehicle Cheetah, better known as the Flakpanzer Gepard, have arrived in Ukraine a couple of weeks ago. But the first real video footage was released only very recently.
The volunteer journalist community initiative InformNapalm OSINT has published a video from the Ukrainian frontline showing the Cheetah (Flakpanzer Gepard) self-propelled anti-aircraft gun platform with twin-gun systems testing its basic mechanical functions. There is no confirmation to this date about the use of Gepards in actual battles.
According to the available official data, Ukraine has received 15 units of these vehicles so far.
The main purpose of these close-range anti-aircraft systems is to defend against the aircraft of the invading Russian forces or missiles flying at low altitudes.
The first model of the German Cheetah/Gepard was developed in the 1960s, but since then it has been upgraded numerous times. Nearly all upgrades were primarily focused on the integration of the latest electronic systems.
The Gepard is equipped with a 3.8-liter multi-fuel engine producing 66 kW (90 PS). The fuel capacity is 985 liters, which is enough for a combined operating time of approximately 48 hours. The chassis and the track were taken directly from Leopard 1.
The Gepard has two radar dishes: one is used for the search function, and the second one performs target tracking. A laser rangefinder is mounted at the front between the twin gun Oerlikon GDF. The main gun is also called Oerlikon 35 mm twin autocannon, and it exists in a towed anti-aircraft gun modification too.
The guns are 90 calibers, 3.15 m (10 ft 4 in) long. The muzzle velocity, or the speed of a projectile leaving the gun’s barrel, is 1,440 m/s (4,700 ft/s). This anti-aircraft platform uses Frangible Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FAPDS) rounds, with an effective firing range of 5.5 km (3.4 mi).
The autocannon is usually loaded with a mix of 320 anti-aircraft and 20 armor-piercing rounds per gun. The combined rate of fire is 1,100 rounds/min, which provides a continuous fire time of 37 seconds before running out of ammo (with 680 rounds for both guns).
In its home country, the Gepard was phased out in late 2010 and replaced by Wiesel 2 Ozelot with four FIM-92 Stinger or LFK NG missile launchers. However, in its latest modification, Gepard remains a very powerful anti-aircraft defense platform and it has been a cornerstone of the air defense of the German Army and several other NATO countries.
Germany has pledged to deliver 30 Gepards in total to Ukraine, including 53,000 rounds. For 30 units of twin-cannon anti-aircraft guns, this amount of ammunition isn’t much, but hopefully, more ammunition will be delivered to Ukraine in the future.
According to the article published in Deutsche Welle which refers to a government spokesman, Germany is planning to supply €500 mln worth of weapons in 2023. Ukraine should also receive medium-range infrared homing air-to-air missiles IRIS-T with three dedicated launch platforms, a dozen armored recovery vehicles, 20 pickup-mounted rocket launchers, precision ammunition, and anti-drone devices.
However, the complete military aid package is still to be approved by the Federal Government.