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Rheinmetall presented SkyRanger 35 air defense systems on Leopard 2 chassis - Ukraine will receive them on another tank platform

Rheinmetall presented SkyRanger 35 air defense systems on Leopard 2 chassis - Ukraine will receive them on another tank platform
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At the Paris arms exhibition Eurosatory 2024, the German defense concern Rheinmetall presented the SkyRanger 35 anti-aircraft complex on the chassis of the Leopard 2 tank, as reported by "Military". In previous versions, the air defense system combat unit was installed on the original armored Boxer chassis.

The tank platform allows the SkyRanger 35 to traverse difficult terrain alongside other tanks and heavy tracked armored vehicles, making the system a full-fledged air defense system. A more durable chassis will also withstand additional equipment capable of enhancing target detection and observation, as well as additional ammunition.

The SkyRanger 35 features a 35mm GDM-008 gun capable of firing 1000 rounds per minute. The turret allows for optional installation of two Mistral or Stinger missile launchers. The ammunition stock consists of 252 rounds available in various calibers, including shells with radio fuses. The system detects small targets using the AMMR radar, with five antennas providing 360-degree coverage. Additionally, there is a passive FIRST detection system. The main target for the installation is combat or reconnaissance drones.

The website Defense Express notes that the Leopard 2 chassis is scarce, and there are unlikely to be many such installations. Rheinmetall's capabilities for producing new chassis are also limited. As an example, a contract for training Leopard 2 tanks for the Bundeswehr has been postponed to 2026-2029.

The publication Bild, whose correspondents visited the secret repair plant of Rheinmetall, learned about the company's ability to install the SkyRanger 35 turret on Leopard 1 tank platforms.

"We plan to stay in Ukraine in the long term. We are not just delivering equipment and then leaving, we are showing that we will be there permanently and will support Ukraine. And we have further plans, including a heavy-armored version of the Skyranger anti-aircraft complex for Ukraine. There are still many Leopard 1 main battle tanks on which we could install the Skyranger turret with a 35mm automatic gun," said Bjorn Bernhard, head of the ground systems department at Rheinmetall.

Currently, the concern is repairing heavy armored vehicles in Ukraine, including Leopard 1 tanks and Lynx BMPs, which the plant is able to restore after track damage from a mine in three weeks. In the future, Rheinmetall will also produce new Lynx BMPs in Ukraine and build an ammunition plant.

The prospects for Ukraine to receive the SkyRanger 35 air defense system on Leopard 2 chassis are minimal, but the same installations based on Leopard 1 are quite realistic. Moreover, they can be manufactured in Ukraine. Additionally, Rheinmetall has a wide range of weapons in its arsenal, including the GMARS rocket artillery system, presented at Eurosatory 2024 - an analogue of the HIMARS and M270.

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