The German tank arsenal: the “Gepard” has long been retired – Germany

Armaments manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is to be given the green light to be able to sell technically refurbished “Gepard” anti-aircraft tanks from former Bundeswehr stocks. In addition, the traffic light factions want to ask the federal government this week, through a draft resolution, to expand arms deliveries to Ukraine to include additional “heavy weapons and complex systems”.

Requirements of Ukraine: heavy weapons can be divided into four categories

For some time now, the discussion on heavy arms deliveries has also put pressure on Chancellor Scholz, who continues to refuse to make clear commitments to Ukraine. But what is it exactly? Applications are mainly for armored vehicles such as personnel carriers and main battle tanks. These include anti-aircraft tanks of the “Gepard” type.

However, these only fall into one of four weapon system categories called heavy weapons, defined by the Federal Agency for Civic Education. It is also artillery, that is to say heavy artillery such as howitzers, then planes and helicopters and, in the fourth category, armed ships and submarines.

Type “Gepard” already retired: These are the new weapons of the Bundeswehr

Anti-aircraft tanks of the “Gepard” type have been part of the arsenal of weapons in Germany since the Cold War. Since the 1990s, however, there has been disarmament in many places, especially in NATO member states. Until 2013, only two anti-aircraft regiments still used this system, but the tank is no longer in use in Germany at all. They were gradually replaced by so-called light anti-aircraft systems, 67 of which now belong to the Bundeswehr. The tanks that Germany now allows to be supplied come from old industrial stocks.

However, the Bundeswehr still has large active stocks of main battle tanks that could be delivered to Ukraine. First and foremost is the Leopard 2 main battle tank, the number of which is estimated at more than 2,100 throughout Germany. This is also used by the armed forces of many other countries. With the upgrade package approved by Scholz worth more than 100 billion euros, the Bundeswehr also wants to push forward the development of the Leopard 3 project. However, this will probably only be completed in a few years.

The Puma infantry fighting vehicle is one of the most modern weapons systems in the world: but it is not yet ready for use

Ukraine is also interested in Marder and Puma infantry fighting vehicles. The Bundeswehr has approximately 2,000 Marders and 350 Pumas under development. Eight of these 350 Puma armored personnel carriers will be used as so-called driving school tanks and then for training soldiers. All variants of the Marder model currently in use are also used for training purposes. The Marder is expected to be decommissioned by 2030 when the Puma model is ready for use.

The transport model Wiesel 2, of which there are almost 50 in stock, and the weapon carrier model Wiesel 1 with a total of 343 vehicles are also part of the thoughts on possible arms deliveries to Ukraine. These transport tanks and weapon carriers are also widely used for training soldiers.

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