Finland officially announced its intention to transfer Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine.
Antti Hakkanen, chairman of the Defense Committee of the Finnish Parliament, said that Finland is ready to join the supply of armored vehicles to Ukraine, provided that other European countries do the same. We are talking about a batch of 100 Leopard 2A4 tanks, which have been withdrawn from service but are in storage.
“If Europe starts giving tanks an inch wider to Ukraine, then Finland should be involved. Of course, with our small contribution, because our defense capability is always a priority for us as a border country with Russia.”, – said the chairman of the Defense Committee of the Finnish Parliament.
Only France has begun deliveries of tanks to Ukraine. However, countries like Germany, Poland, Denmark, Great Britain, and Finland have also announced plans to transfer their tanks to Ukraine. Finland is not a NATO member, so coordinating supplies with other Finnish countries is not required.
Taking into account the stocks of tanks in service with NATO countries, experts believe that, in total only European countries can potentially transfer up to 500 NATO-type tanks to Ukraine. In comparison, Poland has about 200-250 more Soviet tanks in service, which can also potentially be transferred to Ukraine.
The Leopard 2 was originally developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the West German Army.
It is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon and is powered by a V-12 twin-turbo diesel engine. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and 13 other European countries, as well as several non-European nations, including Canada, Chile, Indonesia, and Singapore.
The Leopard 2 was used in Kosovo with the German Army, in Afghanistan with the Dutch, Danish and Canadian contributions to the International Security Assistance Force, and saw action in Syria with the Turkish Armed Forces.
The Leopard 2 has two main variants, Leopard 2A4, which has vertically faced turret armor, and the improved batch, namely the Leopard 2A5, and newer versions, which have angled arrow-shaped turret appliqué armor together with other improvements.
All models feature digital fire control systems with laser rangefinders, a fully stabilised main gun and coaxial machine gun, and advanced night vision and sighting equipment (first vehicles used a low-light level TV system or LLLTV; thermal imaging was introduced later on).
The tank has the ability to engage moving targets while moving over rough terrain.
The Leopard 2 uses spaced multilayer armour throughout the design. The armour combines steel plates of different hardness, elastic materials, and other non-metallic materials.
Steel plates with high hardness and high ductility are used on the tank. The armour is a result of extensive research about the formation and penetration mechanism of shaped charge jets.
The Leopard 2A4’s2A4’s armour has a maximum physical thickness of 800 millimeters (31 in) based on unofficial measurements and estimates made by former conscripts and professional soldiers of the German Army.
On the Leopard 2A5 and subsequent models, the wedge-shaped armor module’smodule’s thickness increases to 1,500 millimetres (59 in).
The tank’s side and rear protect against heavy machine guns, medium caliber rounds, and older types of tank ammunition. Armour skirts cover the side of the hull to increase protection against projectiles and RPGs.