Barely a month since their delivery, the first German armored self-propelled guns have already ceased service in Ukraine, according to a report by German newspaper Der Spiegel.
The German Ministry of Defense was informed by Kyiv last week that an error message appeared on the cannons and that several of them needed to be repaired. According to the Bundeswehr, the reason behind the malfunction may be that the Ukrainians are firing the guns more intensively than the technology is capable of.
This means that the stress on the loading systems may be too high. Another problem could be that the soldiers reportedly fire the units from too far away with the special ammunition; the smart grenades used by these cannons were meant for shorter-range, precision hits.
The Bundeswehr explained that misuse of the weapons could have contributed to a more accelerated wear and tear. Despite the problems, however, they agreed to supply Ukraine with additional weapons packages.
At the same time, the arming of Ukraine by the West raises several problems. The unlimited flow of weapons can see arms easily end up on the black market or lost. Several European countries have already warned that weapons have on occasion been redirected to other nations. The authorities in Sweden, for example, revealed that anti-tank weapons have already appeared in the circles of criminal gangs in Sweden.
Meanwhile, security policy expert Robert C. Castel drew attention to the fact that Western weapon systems — the Javelin anti-tank missile and the Stinger anti-aircraft missile — can be used against civilian and industrial targets as well as military ones. According to him, it is only a matter of time before these weapons deliveries have unintended consequences. These weapons could still be lurking somewhere in Europe for many decades, as the modern equivalent of mines and air bombs left over from the World Wars, he added.