After a long struggle, Germany is now delivering main battle tanks to Ukraine – most recently Berlin gave the green light for further Leopard 1 deliveries. But there is not enough ammunition for both the already delivered and the promised tanks. All hope now rests on Qatar.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the federal government is having problems obtaining the 105 millimeter ammunition needed for Leopard tanks that are to be handed over to Ukraine. Although Brazil still has large stocks of ammunition due to the delivery of around 250 Leopard tanks from Germany, the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has so far refused to pass it on, as it did with the ammunition for the Cheetah anti-aircraft tank.

Rheinmetall and the Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) want to prepare dozens of Leopard 1 tanks and could supply them for the fight against Russia if Ukraine is interested in buying them, according to the “SZ” report. The federal government had already decided to make 14 more modern Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Bundeswehr stocks available to Ukraine. But there is not enough ammunition for the tanks.

The shortage of ammunition also affects the German-made Gepard tanks that have been in use in Ukraine for some time. According to “SZ”, the Ukrainian army only had around 30,000 rounds for them, which severely restricted the possible uses. “Brazil is a country of peace,” Lula said during a visit by Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week. “And that’s why Brazil doesn’t want any involvement in this war – not even indirectly.”

Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius from the SPD is now also working to buy back 15 Gepard tanks and ammunition from Qatar. “The cheetahs proved themselves very well in the war in Ukraine,” Pistorius told the newspaper. “If we could get more from partners here, that would definitely help the Ukrainians.” So far, Kyiv has already received 37 Cheetah anti-aircraft gun tanks.

In this case, Switzerland has so far refused to pass on cheetah ammunition produced there. In the medium term, starting in July, a new production facility at Rheinmetall in Unterlüß, Lower Saxony, should solve the problem. According to “SZ”, the Bundeswehr will probably order 150,000 shots in two variants twice. One is therefore particularly suitable for combating air targets because of its fragmentation effect. With another variant you have to hit the target directly, but this can be produced faster.