Germany will deliver 15 Flakpanzer Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine in July.
Speaking after a meeting Friday between German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht and her Ukrainian counterpart, Olexii Resnokiv, a Lambrecht said the anti-aircraft system will be used to defend critical infrastructure in Ukraine.
Germany will provide training support as well as 60,000 rounds of ammunition.
Lambrecht explained that the Gepard is an effective weapon with a "considerable deterrent effect ... for the protection of critical infrastructure."
The Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard, known as the “Cheetah” in English, entered service with the German military in the 1970s. It was designed specifically to counter armored attack helicopters, such as the Mil Mi-24. Germany decommissioned their Gepards in 2012, so the units being sent to Ukraine are currently being made operational again.
When Germany announced their intention to supply Ukraine with the anti-aircraft guns in April, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin noted, "I think those systems will provide real capability for Ukraine. And in terms of what else Germany will do going forward, again, that's a sovereign decision, one the German leadership will make, and I don't want to speculate on that.”
The announcement signified that Germany had reversed its policy of not sending heavy weapons to Ukraine following mounting domestic and international pressure to help Kyiv repel the Russian invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called on Berlin to supply heavier weapons, including tanks, artillery, and air defense systems.