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German Gepard Anti-Aircraft Gun System: Used as Killer of Russian drones by Ukrainian Air Defense

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has released a video showcasing the prowess of the Gepard anti-aircraft armored vehicles, a gift from the German Government. In the video, these vehicles effectively neutralize dozen of drones like the Shahed-136/131, a model extensively used by Russian forces for conducting airborne assaults on Ukraine's major urban centers.
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The Gepard anti-aircraft gun systems donated by Germany to Ukraine were used to destroy Russian Shahed drones during day and night.  (Picture source Video Footage Ukrainian MoD)

The capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, has recently been subjected to the most extensive drone attacks so far in the ongoing conflict, initiated by Russian forces.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces revealed on the night of May 28, 2023, that Russia had deployed 59 Iranian Shahed drones. They reported that of this number, a staggering 58 were successfully intercepted and neutralized. This statement followed an earlier report from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense which accounted for a slightly smaller total of 54 drones, noting that only two evaded their defense systems.

In the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Gepard anti-aircraft armored vehicles have proven their efficiency against both drones and loitering munitions.

The Gepard anti-aircraft system, often referred to as the Flakpanzer Gepard, is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) developed by Germany. It is designed to provide rapid response and high firing rates, making it effective against a range of aerial threats, including drones and loitering munitions.

Key to the Gepard's capabilities is its dual 35mm automatic cannons. These cannons are capable of firing at a rate of up to 550 rounds per minute, each. The high firing rate, combined with a sophisticated tracking and radar system, enables the Gepard to quickly engage and destroy fast-moving aerial targets.

The munitions used by the Gepard's 35mm guns include both standard and AHEAD (Advanced Hit Efficiency And Destruction) rounds. The latter is particularly effective against drones and loitering munitions. AHEAD rounds are designed to eject a lethal cloud of 152 tungsten sub-projectiles just ahead of an incoming target, effectively creating a deadly barrier that the target cannot evade.

German Gepard Anti Aircraft Gun System Used as a Drone Killer by Ukrainian Air Defense 925 002
Gepard 35mm anti-aircraft twin-gun system is based on the Leopard 1 tank tracked chassis.(Picture source Video footage Ukraine MoD)

Moreover, the Gepard is equipped with an advanced radar system and fire-control system that allows it to track multiple targets simultaneously. The radar system can detect and track small, fast-moving targets such as drones and loitering munitions even in complex environments. It is designed to handle targets with small radar cross-sections, making it effective against modern threats.

The Gepard uses a pair of radar systems to identify and follow potential aerial threats and to guide its 35mm cannons.

The search radar, which is the primary radar, scans the airspace for potential threats. This radar operates in the E/F-band range, capable of sweeping a radius of up to 15 kilometers. It rotates six times per minute, offering a full 360-degree coverage of the airspace.

The tracking radar, on the other hand, focuses on targets detected by the search radar. Operating in the J-band range, it can track a target up to 15 kilometers away. It updates target information several times per second, providing data to the fire-control system to guide the 35mm cannons.

In terms of the 35mm guns, they are highly effective against airborne targets. The cannons can reach an altitude of approximately 4 kilometers and have a maximum effective range of 4 kilometers. The high rate of fire and the ability to use specialized munitions like AHEAD rounds makes the Gepard an effective anti-drone and anti-loitering munition system.

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