US purchases more Gepards from Jordan to send to Ukraine

A Dutch Gepard seen during an exercise in 1990. Its distinctive radars are seen at the front and rear of the turret. Dutch Ministry of Defense

The new U.S. purchase of the Gepards is being funded through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which was established prior to Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine. This security assistance mechanism is specifically intended to help acquire weapons and other equipment, along with training and other support services, on Ukraine’s behalf. In addition, unlike the so-called ‘drawdowns‘ of materiel straight from U.S. military stocks for transfer to Ukraine’s armed forces, USAI can be used to buy items not already in American inventory, like the Gepard.

It is unclear how many Gepards are being purchased for Ukraine through the U.S. Army contract or when they might arrive in that country. The contract notice doesn’t explicitly say where the vehicles are coming from, but does say that the “work will be performed in Amman, Jordan, with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2024.” This also implies the vehicles require some degree of refurbishing or other attention before they can be delivered. The War Zone has reached out for more information.

Jordan certainly has Gepards that could be purchased for transfer to Ukraine. In 2013, the government of the Netherlands struck a deal to sell 60 retired Gepards to the Jordanian military. That sale also included 350,000 rounds of 35mm ammunition and spare parts, among other items. The Dutch armed forces had acquired a total of 95 Gepards starting in the 1970s and had placed the remaining examples in storage by 2006.

Dutch Gepards differ from the variants that were produced during the Cold War for what was then the West German military in their radar fit. The Dutch version has an X-band search radar and a tracking radar that can operate in the X and Ka bands. The German variant has an S-band search radar and a Ku-band tracking radar. The different radars make the two types visually distinct.

Comment: The Dutch “De Telegraaf” reported that Jordan purchased the Gepards from the Netherlands for 21 million euros ($22 million) in 2013 and that the US purchased the systems from Jordan for around $110 million. In this age of military drones the value of the Gepard has definitely skyrocketed although that includes the refurbishing and delivery of the Gepards to Ukraine by May 2024. 

I don’t know how those Dutch radar systems compare to the German systems now in use in Ukraine. Both configurations were given major upgrades beginning in 2001 so I imagine their capabilities are comparable. If Ukraine gets enough Gepards and MANPADS, they should be able to provide better air defense to front line units than they have now. They will need it because Russian drone capability is very likely to continue improving.

Back in the 25th Infantry Division, it was a common practice to dole out a Vulcan Air Defense System to each light infantry company. As a weapons platoon leader, the Vulcan and a Redeye team fell under my control for employment. During live fire exercises we would integrate the Vulcan into our infantry defense against aerial targets tactics. The Vulcan is a limited weapon compared to the Gepard. It has a much shorter range and only a range finding radar. Its fire control system consists of a trained gunner with a good eye. Still, we probably have a lot sitting around somewhere. I think they could be easily refurbished and provided to Ukraine front line units to aid in the defense against drones.


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8 Responses to US purchases more Gepards from Jordan to send to Ukraine

  1. Jimmy_w says:

    They probably de-mil’d all the VADS because they could recycle the cannons for aircraft use

  2. elkern says:

    Wow! *Three* birds with one stone:

    1. Get more AA weapons to Ukraine
    2. Bribe Jordan (more) to be nice to Israel
    2a. Give Jordanian Gov’t a little extra money to spread around to keep its population (including lotsa Palestinian refugees) quiet-ish.
    3. Remove some AA defense from Jordan, just in case Israel (or us) decides to fly planes into or through their airspace.

    Note: the Article says that the $118M contract is with a Florida-based company, so Jordan won’t be getting that whole pie.

    The name of the company is “Global Military Products, Inc”, which is apparently a subsidiary (or such) of “Global Ordnance”. Looks like their “business model” is “get the Pentagon to pay us to smuggle weapons around the world”, and it looks like it’s working. Most interesting link I found – with some fun dirt – is Balkan:

    The article includes a blurb about the CEO, who was “…was among 22 arms executives indicted in the US on charges of trying to bribe a government minister in Gabon to secure a $15 million arms contract. The deal was in fact part of an FBI sting operation, but charges were dropped in 2012 after juries failed to reach a verdict on seven defendants – including Morales – during two separate trials and the judge in the second cited “structural deficiencies” in the case.” Business as usual, I suppose…

    • TTG says:


      My first thought was also that Jordan needed the money right now more than she needed the Vulcans. They wouldn’t be of any real use against any Israeli aircraft transiting Jordan anyways.

      That Global Military Products, Inc. is just our version of Viktor Bout. I wonder how much arms and ammo he provided to our supposedly good jihadis although I’m sure he also funneled the same to the YPG/YPJ and the SDF. The Pentagon should be sending Morales and his GMP, Inc. to Israel to pick up their improved Machbet version of the Vulcan. They have tracking systems that can datalink to nearby radar systems. BTW, Time ran a decent article on Viktor Bout and the world he lived in. He wasn’t/isn’t unique.

  3. Fred says:

    The USAI existed before the war but they waited until now to spend these millions? Somehow something is missing in the story.

  4. Keith Harbaugh says:

    On the general subject of weaponry, here is an article on the vulnerability of expensive drones:

  5. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Speaking about surveillance methods, here is a most interesting article about the availability of overhead imagery:

    The U.S. government has a special law restricting satellite imagery that depicts Israel.

    It’s not unusual for countries to attempt to restrict satellite imagery of sensitive locations on their own soil. But in this case, the law seeks to protect an entire — and separate — country.

    “This restriction doesn’t even apply to the U.S.” homeland and territories, satellite imagery analyst Matt Korda of the Federation of American Scientists told NPR.

    One wonders what the situation is with regard to the Ukraine war.

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