As western arms supplies to Ukraine get bigger and include heavier weapons, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced Friday that Germany is sending seven of its biggest, most modern artillery pieces to Ukraine. The self-propelled, 155mm Panzerhaubitzen (PzH) 2000 rapid-fire howitzer systems, with a range of 25 miles.
They can fire up to 10 rounds per minute.
And that’s “on top of five such artillery systems the Netherlands had already pledged,” according to Reuters, giving Ukraine 15 of these very big guns.
Howitzer training for Ukraine’s troops is expected to begin next week.
Billed by the manufacturer, KMW, as “the world’s most modern howitzer,” adding that:
A large ammunition supply and rapid replenishment, the stable gun platform, maximum aiming precision, automated autoloader with the resulting high rate of fire, combined with exceptional mobility and autonomy in navigation and fire control: the PzH 2000 sets the standard for modern barrelled artillery.
Last week, in a dramatic shift from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s reluctance to supply further weaponry to Ukraine, a stance that received heavy international and domestic criticism, the government also authorized the transfer of 50 refurbished Gepard (cheetah) anti-aircraft tanks, armed with two 35mm auto-cannons, and signaled more German weapons would flow to Kyiv.
The Gepard, which was retired from German military service in 2010 is still highly capable. It can be deployed against both ground and air targets. It also has a search radar with a range of up to 15 kilometers (9 miles) and can hit targets at a distance of 6,000 meters (6,560 yards) or 3.7 miles.
Business Insider reports on statements from the Gepard manufacturer, also KMW, about the tanks’ capabilities:
It can be used to defend against fighter planes, helicopters, remotely guided missiles, rockets, and also modern drones, KMW said.
According to KMW, “the ballistic projectiles cannot be interfered with by electronic defenses, and their fragmentation clouds reliably destroy the target.”
The tank has a short reaction time against air attacks, KMW added, citing its high mobility, reliable target detection and tracking, and quickly rotating turret.
These will be Germany’s first delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.
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