German self-propelled guns supplied to Ukraine could not withstand the high rate of fire
Just a month later, the Panzerhaubitze 2000 showed signs of wear
The German Ministry of Defense announced new gifts to Kyiv: Ukraine will receive 16 Biber (Beaver) bridge-laying tanks. With such armored vehicles, “Ukrainian troops can overcome water and other obstacles in battle,” the German military department explains. Meanwhile, unexpected problems arose with previous gifts: just a month after the delivery of Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled artillery mounts (ACS) some already showed signs of wear and needed repairs.
According to Spiegel, Kyiv informed the German Ministry of Defense about this in the middle of the outgoing week. In the Bundeswehr, according to the publication, problems are associated with the excessively high intensity of the use of self-propelled howitzers, which puts a huge load on the loading mechanism.
By Bundeswehr standards, already 100 rounds a day is an extremely high intensity. However, the Ukrainians, experts of the Bundeswehr suggest, shoot at a much higher frequency. In addition, the Ukrainian military apparently “tried to fire special ammunition at too great a distance.”
To solve the problem, the Bundeswehr agreed to send additional sets of spare parts to Ukraine. At the same time, the German government is negotiating the creation of a repair center in Poland, which will significantly speed up the maintenance of German armored vehicles supplied to Ukraine.
For reference: Panzerhaubitze 2000 (abbreviated version: PzH 2000) is considered one of the most modern and efficient systems this class in the world. In the Bundeswehr, without false modesty, they call it the most modern. The self-propelled guns are equipped with a 155 mm 52-caliber howitzer. The maximum firing range (with Excalibur active rockets) is 48 kilometers.
There are 12 such self-propelled guns in Ukraine. Seven delivered by Germany, five – by the Netherlands, where these self-propelled guns are also in service. In the near future, six more are expected to arrive: three each from the Germans and the Dutch. But that's not all: in mid-July, the German government gave permission to the manufacturer, the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann concern, to sell 100 such self-propelled guns to Ukraine. The estimated contract amount is 1.7 billion euros.
However, the question of when this hundred will appear on the battlefield – and whether it will appear there at all – is still open: as the Bild newspaper notes, the production of such a number of vehicles may take several years.
PzH 2000 is not the only heavy German armored vehicles, which are currently in service with the Ukrainian army. In July, Ukraine also received five Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (ZSU) (a total of 30 will be delivered). But even with them, according to the available information, not everything, as they say, thank God.
The main problem here is ammunition. The manufacturer of guns Gepard (ZSU is equipped with two 35-millimeter anti-aircraft guns), the Swiss company Oerlikon Contraves AG, obeying the instructions of its government, refuses to supply shells to Ukraine. And in the warehouses of the Bundeswehr, there are very few “native” ammunition left. Therefore, we have to look for palliative options.
Certain hopes were pinned on one manufacturer from Norway. However, during recent test firing, it turned out that the “cheetah” fire control system does not recognize the Norwegian “ersatz”. Now the projectile will have to be redone. In August, the modified ammunition will be re-tested.