Germany Approves Sale of 15 Gepard Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun to Qatar

Germany’s Federal Security Council issued a final export license for the sale of 15 Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to Qatar at its last meeting. The self-propelled anti-aircraft gun are made by the Munich arms company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the deal is valued at 31.4 million euros. In addition to the vehicles, Qatar will receive four 30mm automatic cannons, 30 barrels and other spare parts, as well as 16,000 rounds of ammunition. The license, issued by the Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics, is one of the largest awarded this year for the Gulf region. Qatar is planning to use the Gepard SP AA guns to secure the football World Cup in 2022, where terrorist drone attacks are feared.

In the past, the German government has repeatedly issued extensive arms export permits to Qatar, including a delivery of 62 Leopard 2 tanks in 2013. According to the contract signed with in 2013 with an overall value of USD2.2 billion, Qatar ordered 62 Leopard 2 tanks. Qatar’s Leopard 2A7+ tanks are the most advanced of the breed built to date and will be optimised to meet the high ambient conditions encountered in the Middle East. Qatar has purchase Dingo 2 HD (Heavy Duty) the latest version of the 4×4 armored vehicle in the Dingo family. In 2014, Qatar has also ordered 32 Fennek 4×4 wheeled reconnaissance vehicles that were delivered from 2017 to 2019.

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 defence 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. A variant with the MANTIS gun system and LFK NG missiles, based on the GTK Boxer, was also considered.

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. The guns are 90 calibres (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. Combined rate of fire is 1,100 rounds/min.