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Air defense cannon tank Gepard
Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard

In the early 1980s Dutch and West Germans introduced the GEPARD, a mobile and highly accurate, radar-guided, anti-aircraft gun system. In a conventional battlefield situation, this defensive strategy is applied successfully. If a coordinated raid from a pre-known direction is to be expected, medium-range air defense systems such as PATRIOT andHAWK massively deployed near the frontline provide forward protection. In the rear zone, short-range (SHORAD) Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems such as ROLAND or gun-based systems such as the German GEPARD or the Russian ZSU-23 are deployed along the last line of defense

Such self-propelled anti-aircraft guns rely on an active radar system for the purpose of acquisition and fire control. The Gepard, for example, has a radar dish on top of the turret and inthe center of the two guns. While the systems can be operated manually, the active radar provides far better and more accurate performance. Acquisition ranges on many of the systems is approximately fifteen kilometers. These systemsnormally can be linked electronically to increase the area of coverage and provide cueinginformation to other systems. Radars associated with modern self-propelled anti-aircraft guns are generally very advanced and very effective for tactical applications. Theadvanced radars these systems employ provide accurate and timely information for allaspects of acquisition. Individually, self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, such as the Russian 2S6 or German Gepard, have few limitations concerning target acquisition.

Some systems like the French Roland and the German Gepard use command signals to guide the SAMS to target. These systems can be operated optically. The difference between the SAMS and gun systems is that the SAM is still linked electronically for course correction guidance. The GSM/GSI telephones on the Gepard and Roland determine their positions based on built-in Global positioning system(GPS) receivers. The GSM/GSI telephones on the vehicles send short message service (SMS) messages containing the position and velocity of the vehicles to the telephone at NC3A.

The most prominent laser device used in the German Army is of Nd-YAG type. It is installed in the anti-aircraft tank GEPARD, the battle tank LEOPARD 2 as well as the artillery tank and serves as a rangefinder.

US Army efforts to replace the Vulcan with a more advanced gun system ended in disaster. The Armys concern over the Vulcan centered on its short range, its slow reaction times, and the absence of both crew protection and the ability to distinguish friend from foe. The success of the Soviet ZSU-23-4 23 mm guns mounted on a tank chassis in the Middle East wars and the rising threat of Soviet helicopter gunships were additional factors. In the early 1980s, the US Army sought a mobile, all-weather system that would overcome these shortcomings. After rejecting the German Gepard, the Army believed that it could get what it wanted quickly and cheaply by combining several bits of existing equipment. After competing with General Dynamics, Ford Aerospace won a contract in May 1981 for the Division Air Defense or M247 Sergeant York.

  • Engine performance: 610 KW (830 HP)
  • Weight: approx. 47 t
  • Maximum speed: approx. 60 km/h
  • Operating range: 420 km
  • Crew: 3
  • Armament:
    • Twin mounted automatic cannon 35 mm
    • Rate of fire 550 shot for each tubing/min.
    • Combat distance: 3,500 m

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