Mercedes-Benz Zetros Mercedes-Benz Zetros

German military aid to Ukraine — Week 49 / 2023

On Friday, the 8th of December 2023, the German government updated their list of military assistance to Ukraine in the morning and made the deliveries of the last week public.

This time, the deliveries seem to focus on UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle) and medical assistance, although the regular logistical vehicles were also delivered.

  • 1 drone system LUNA NG
  • 10 Vector UAVs
  • 8 Mercedes-Benz Zetros
  • 6 border protection vehicles
  • 70 HK GMG/GMW
  • more than 250 shells of 155 mm artillery ammunition
  • 100,000 first aid kits
  • medical supplies

New toys for the AFU

With the announcement of the deliveries of the last week, the German government made public, that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have received several new toys, which they haven’t had in service yet.

The AFU has received a LUNA NG airborne reconnaissance system for the first time. The German government publicly pledged the state-of-the-art drone system back in July this year via the 700 million euro “Vilnius package”.

About one month later, the German defence company Rheinmetall made public, that they had been contracted by the German government to supply Ukraine with a LUNA NG airborne reconnaissance system.

The reconnaissance system worth a low double-digit million euro figure consists of a ground control station, several UAVs, a launch catapult, optional net equipment for catching the drones when they land as well as maintenance equipment.

The entire drone system is mounted on an HX truck with a swap body system. Ukraine already has many of these trucks made by Rheinmetall in service, also thanks to the German government.

LUNA NG drones can remain aloft for more than twelve hours. Moreover, when fitted with optional StaCom equipment, they have a datalink range of up to 300 kilometres.

Also in use with the AFU for the first time is the German-made HK GMG/GMW. 100 of these automatic grenade launchers were pledged by the German government to Ukraine, of which the first 70 now got delivered.

Although it might be possible, that “only” 30 of them got delivered. The German version of the website — which is mostly the right one — states that 70 got delivered, while the English version of the website states 30.

We’ll find out soon enough how many were delivered, as the Federal Press Office mostly corrects its mistakes in a couple of weeks.

The HK GMG/GMW uses 40×53 mm HV ammunition, of which Germany has already delivered 167,415 rounds to Ukraine (as of writing this post). It has a maximum effective range of up to 1500 metres.

Automatic grenade launchers like the American Mk 19 have been proven to be highly effective in Ukraine. Therefore, I am more than sure, that Ukraine will put these HK GMG/GMW into good use.

Further deliveries for the medical sector

The medical sector of the AFU was also strengthened. Germany not only delivered unspecified medical supplies to Ukraine, but also 100,000 first aid kits.

With the latest delivery, Germany has supplied Ukraine with a total of 340,000 first aid kits in the past 5 months. 500,000 since the start of the full-scale invasion in February last year.

Unfortunately, I cannot provide any further information on the medical supplies. Neither the precise items nor the quantities were mentioned. However, Germany has now delivered at least 19 pallets in total, with the last delivery.

Questionable delivery of artillery ammunition

Interestingly, Germany also made public the delivery of at least 250 shells of 155 mm artillery ammunition. A quantity that most people want to laugh about, but can’t.

DM121 155mm artillery shell
DM121 artillery ammunition, delivered by Germany in a German-delivered PzH 2000

Of course, it should not be forgotten that Germany supplies artillery ammunition to Ukraine almost every week, which adds up to a little more per month.

In November 2023, Germany has delivered 3,400 155 mm artillery shells. In December, it’s already 4,090 155 mm artillery shells, and we are not even halfway through the month.

What I find particularly interesting is the fact that they seem to have changed the way the artillery ammunition is displayed in the official list of military assistance to Ukraine. Until recently, every single artillery shell was displayed, whereas since the last update it has been rounded off.

It therefore remains to be seen whether this pattern will also be carried over to other entries in the official list of military assistance to Ukraine, or whether we will see more detailed figures again in the future.

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