Video Above: Tank Modernization and Tank Battles in War
Gepard "Cheetah" Anti-Aircraft Tanks
Germany has decided to send as many as 50 Gepard “Cheetah” anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine as part of the growing collective, multi-national effort to arm Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
Gepard vehicles, or Cheetahs, consist of an anti-aircraft gun mounted onto a Leopard tank chassis, weapons which could threaten, defend against and even destroy Russian drones, helicopters. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced his appreciation for Germany’s move following a 40-nation-strong security meeting in Germany to craft long-term plans to defend Ukraine.
“I consider Germany to be a great friend and ally .. it has always been a real pleasure to work alongside our German partners. The Cheetah system will provide real capability for Ukraine. I believe that based upon everything I have seen and how intently she has been focused to do everything she can to help. She will continue to be relevant and provide good capability,” Austin said.
Austin’s point seems to be an important one, given that the Ukrainians operate out-dated, Soviet-era air defenses and need to slow down, blunt or simply stop and destroy Russian air attacks from fighter jets.
Despite Russia’s apparent numerical superiority in the air, the Russian Air Force has surprisingly not been able to achieve air superiority over Ukraine. Ukraine does appear to be getting S-300 air defenses, yet fortifying this capability with Cheetah’s could bring new dimensions to their efforts to defend Donbas.
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Any mechanized Russian assault on Donbas is likely to operate with air support, yet well placed and properly armed Cheetah anti-aircraft tanks could potentially target and take-out Russia’s close air support. Cheetah’s would have a longer range, heavier rate of fire and be better protected than an individual soldier firing a shoulder-mounted Stinger missile. As heavily armored vehicles, Cheetah’s could operate in open space more easily than a soldier with a Stinger, therefore widening the envelope of defensive attack.
Video Above: The War in Donbas, Ukraine with Russia
Added to this support from Cheetah’s, German defense leaders are also working through Parliament to get authorization to send 88 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine as well, according to an interesting story in yahoo news.
A presence of tanks would be extremely impactful for Ukraine as well, given that Russia operates a large number of armored vehicles and will likely draw upon existing heavy firepower to try to close in on Donbas.
Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.