Acting on behalf of Ukraine, the German Ministry of Defence has tasked Rheinmetall with supplying 300,000 rounds of 35mm ammunition for the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG), which is now deployed by the Ukrainian military. The order value is in the low three-digit million euro range. This will enable effective engagement of a multitude of targets. The first APDS-T rounds will be delivered in summer 2023. A shift in production from APDS-T to HEI-T is scheduled to take place in mid-2024. Rheinmetall provides a comprehensive medium-calibre ammunition portfolio for its own and other cannons. The company will be supplying 150,000 rounds each of Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot – Tracer (APDS-T) and High Explosive Incendiary – Tracer (HEI-T) ammunition.
The urgent need to set up 35mm production outside of Switzerland is one of the main reasons for which Rheinmetall in mid-November acquired Spanish ammunition manufacturer Expal Systems. The deal was based on an enterprise value of €1.2 billion. At its plant in Unterlüß, Rheinmetall is currently creating additional medium-calibre ammunition production capacity, which is due to go into operation in summer 2023. In building this new production line, Rheinmetall is responding to sharply increased global demand. Rheinmetall is one of the world’s leading makers of advanced weapon systems for air defence, it is the world’s sole single-source supplier of fire control technology, automatic cannon, integrated guided missile launchers and Ahead airburst ammunition.
Rheinmetall Defence’s portfolio of medium-calibre automatic cannons is based on the products of two highly regarded companies: Oerlikon and Mauser. Rheinmetall continues to build on their legacy, developing and manufacturing automatic cannons featuring exceptional firepower, precision and reliability. Rheinmetall is proud to present its current family of medium-calibre cannons in the 20 mm to 35 mm calibre range. Rheinmetall has been contracted by several NATO customers to supply 35mm calibre ammunition. Deliveries will take place in 2023 and 2024 and the contract is worth a total of around €20 million. Between 2023 and 2024, Rheinmetall will supply the customer countries with various types of ammunition in 35mm x 228 calibre for infantry fighting vehicles.
The Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard (Flakpanzer Gepard) is a German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG). Flakpanzer Gepard are 90 calibres (3.15 m) long, with a muzzle velocity of 1,440 m/s (4,700 ft/s) giving an effective range of 5.5 km (3.4 mi). The ammunition is 35×228mm calibre (STANAG 4516). The autocannon has a dual belt feed for two different ammunition types; the usual loading per gun is 320 AA rounds fed from inside the turret and 20 AP rounds fed from a small outlying storage. The combined rate of fire is 1,100 rounds/min, gives a continuous fire time of 35 seconds before running out of ammunition. On 26 April 2022, the German government authorized Krauss-Maffei Wegmann to transfer 50 refurbished Flakpanzer Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine.