German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall, which will build a heavy equipment repair plant in Ukraine, promises to provide the Defense Forces with 300,000 rounds for Gepard anti-aircraft systems that help shoot down Shahed kamikaze drones, Bild reported on July 22.
After facing a shortage of ammunition needed by Ukrainian defenders, Rheinmetall decided to launch a new production line at its plant in Unterlüss (Lower Saxony).
Rheinmetall will be able to supply Ukraine with 300,000 Gepard rounds, 40,000 of which will be delivered this year, with the first batch expected to reach frontline Ukrainian Armed Forces units in the coming weeks.
Ammunition shortage is a problem for Ukrainian soldiers, as Ukrainian defenders fire only five shots when using the Gepard, though the norm is a line of up to 20 rounds, Bild reported, noting that Germany also has an ammunition shortage for these anti-aircraft systems.
As the Gepard was developed in the 1980s, there have been issues with maintenance. German engineers have developed an original way to reduce the ammunition shortage by converting existing 35mm ammunition intended for infantry fighting vehicles to be used by Gepard anti-aircraft systems.
Rheinmetall's cooperation with Ukraine – details
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with a delegation from Rheinmetall Group led by CEO Armin Papperger in Kyiv. Ukraine’s Ukrboronprom later signed a strategic partnership agreement with the German manufacturer.
Rheinmetall’s CEO announced on July 10 that his company would begin construction of an armored vehicle manufacturing plant in Ukraine within 12 weeks.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the plant "will become alegitimate target of the Russian army," parroting the words of the odious ex-president Dmitry Medvedev about the destruction of the facility by Russian Kalibr missiles.
The head of the German manufacturer, Papperger, calmly responded to the aggressive rhetoric by Russian officials by explaining that the plant would be protected from Russian attacks by air defense systems of its own production.
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