Germany delivers second Skynex anti-aircraft complex to Ukraine to fight Russian drones

Skynex system can be mounted on the truck or stationary platform
Skynex system can be mounted on the truck or stationary platform

Germany has already transferred the second Skynex anti-aircraft artillery complex, along with ammunition, Berlin announced.

The transfer comes as part of the new German aid package announced by Berlin on April 29.

German company Rheinmetall manufactured two Skynex air defense systems for Ukraine following a German government order in Dec. 2022. The total value of the systems is €180 million ($193 million).

Ukraine received the first system in 2023; the second was transferred on April 29, 2024.

Ukraine needs more short-range air defense systems to combat cheap kamikaze drones (Shahed drones) so as not to “waste expensive missiles for that”, then-Air Force spokesperson, Yuriy Ihnat, said in late autumn 2023.

“The German Gepard and Skynex anti-aircraft self-propelled systems will cope well with strike drones’” he said at the time.

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What is Skynex air defense system?

Skynex air defense system is a short-range mobile anti-aircraft system, which is similar in purpose to the German Gepard anti-aircraft self-propelled guns (SPAAG).

Rheinmetall developed Skynex and has been manufacturing the system since 2021.

It is a modernization of the Skyranger/Skyshield light modular short-range air defense system developed by Switzerland's Oerlikon Contraves (renamed Rheinmetall Air Defense AG following a merger with Rheinmetall in 2009).

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Skynex developers paid special attention to countering drones and high-precision weapons.

"It is important that the functionality of Skynex allows you to destroy not only enemy kamikaze drones, but also cruise missiles,” military expert and Defense Express director Serhii Zhurets said in an interview with ArmiyaInform.

The Skynex system is particularly well suited for air defense at close ranges, "where [anti-aircraft] guided missiles can be ineffective,” the manufacturer said, adding that using Ahead ammunition is much cheaper than guided air defense missiles.

Electronic warfare (EW) systems are rendered useless against 35mm rounds fired by a Skynex gun as they cannot be knocked down or even deflected, Rheinmetall claims.

The Ahead programmable munition detonates at a distance from the target, ArmyInform experts explained.

"The distance to the target is determined with the help of built-in rangefinder, after which the munition is set to self-destruct at a given distance."

The target search and engagement system is automated thanks to the built-in fire control processor, and the system can be remotely controlled from anywhere.

The cost of one Skynex anti-aircraft self-propelled installation is $90.5 million.

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