German officials announced they would provide Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow partner countries to re-export this weapon.
German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit announced today that the country would deliver 14 Leopard 2 main battle tanks in service to Ukraine and approved the proposal of partner countries to re-export these tanks to the country.
“The goal is to create two battalions of Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine quickly. The process of training Ukrainian soldiers in Germany will begin soon; we will also provide logistics and ammunition,” spokesman Hebestreit said.
A senior Ukrainian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on January 24 that 12 countries “agreed to supply Ukraine with about 100 Leopard 2 tanks if the German government agrees”.
In addition to Poland and Finland announcing their readiness to supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the source said that Spain, the Netherlands, and Denmark are also ready to transfer tanks in service but still need Germany’s consent to proceed. To the next step.
Leopard 2 is a third-generation battle tank developed in the 1970s for the West German Army, which entered service in 1979. Germany produces more than 3,600 Leopard 2 tanks, a series of variants available in service in the military. Team Germany and 13 European countries, and many countries outside the region.
The UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimates the number of Leopard 2 vehicles in Europe today at more than 2,000. As the sole producer of the Leopard 2, Germany has the right to accept or reject export offers from countries wishing to supply their tanks to a third country.
Meanwhile, Russia insists that any weapons the West transfers to Ukraine will only prolong the conflict and lead to unnecessary bloodshed. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned, “German tanks will burn up on the Ukrainian battlefield like the rest of Western weapons.”
Ukraine expects the German main tank model.
The German-made Leopard 2 tank could add an edge to Ukraine in a conflict but requires a more complex maintenance process.
German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit announced today that the country would deliver 14 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks to Ukraine and, at the same time, approve the proposal of partner countries to re-export this tank to the country. Eastern European nations quickly form two battalions of Leopard 2 tanks for Kyiv.
European countries have supplied hundreds of Soviet-era tanks and armor to Ukraine. Still, the country has repeatedly called on the West to provide modern weapons to bolster its ability to counterattack Russian forces.
Germany’s decision comes after weeks of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government under pressure from allies. As the country that designed and manufactured the Leopard 2, Germany has the right to accept or reject export offers from countries that wish to supply their tanks to a third country.
Leopard 2 is a third-generation battle tank developed in the 1970s for the West German Army to replace the American M48 Patton and Leopard 1 in service. Leopard 2 tank is considered to possess strong firepower, high maneuverability, and armor that can withstand many modern weapons.
Germany has built more than 3,600 Leopard 2 tanks, a series of variants in service with the German armies and 13 European countries, and many countries outside the region.
The Leopard 2A6 version is nearly 10 m long, 3.75 m wide, and 3 m high, with a mass of more than 62 tons. The car is equipped with a water-cooled MTU MB 873 Ka-501 diesel engine with a capacity of 1,479 horsepower, allowing Leopard 2 to reach a maximum speed of 70 km/h.
The main weapon of the Leopard 2 is the 120 mm Rheinmetall Rh-120 smoothbore cannon, which can fire various ammunition such as sub-caliber shell-piercing rods (APFSDS), concave explosive (HEAT) and anti-tank missiles. The cannon has an effective range of 4 km with armor-piercing ammunition and 8 km with LAHAT-guided anti-tank ammunition.
Leopard 2 tank is equipped with EMES 15 fire control system with a laser rangefinder and thermal imaging camera. The laser rangefinder has a maximum range of 10 km and an error of about 10 m. The fire control complex with stabilizing equipment allows Leopard 2 to hit maneuverable targets at a distance of up to 5 km while moving on rough terrain.
Leopard 2 applies the design of composite armor and multi-layer hollow armor, including a wide range of steel and tungsten armor plates with different hardness combined with ceramic and plastic materials. This design is intended to deal with large-caliber bullets and HEATs.
The West German Army in the 1980s estimated that the Leopard 2’s frontal armor could withstand APFSDS shells fired from a 125 mm gun on a Soviet tank from a distance of 1,500 m.
The front armor of the Leopard 2A4 tank has an estimated thickness of 800 mm, while versions from 2A5 later added wedge-shaped armor modules to increase the thickness to 1,500 mm. “The Leopard 2 tank provides comprehensive protection against threats such as mines and anti-tank ammunition, as well as homemade explosives,” the manufacturer said.
The Leopard 2A6s supplied to Ukraine will be taken from the German Army. This variant was built in the early 2000s, using the more powerful Rh-120 L/55 gun model than the Rh-120 L/44 series on previous Leopard 2 versions. The German Army owns about 320 Leopard 2s of the A5, A6, and A7 versions.
Poland also announced that it would send 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine. This version was born in the mid-1980s with a digital fire control system but was not equipped with modern armor like the 2A6 version.
It is unclear how many tanks will be delivered to Ukraine, but each German Leopard 2 battalion has about 44 tanks. German media reported that in addition to the 14 Leopard 2A6s withdrawn from the announced army service, Berlin could deliver more weapons taken from the manufacturer’s stockpile.
This series of vehicles can take a long time to deliver due to the need for an overhaul after a long storage period.
Spokesman Hebestreit said that Germany would quickly train Ukrainian soldiers to operate the Leopard 2 tank, but analysts say it will take at least a few weeks just for them to get used to the equipment, as it is much more complex than that. With Soviet-era tanks in the current Ukrainian service.
Military experts say Leopard 2 tanks can make a difference on the Ukrainian battlefield, especially when delivered in large numbers.
“Ukrainian equipment equipped with Leopard 2 tanks can break through enemy lines and end the long period of trench warfare. They can advance tens of kilometers in each attack,” said Armin Papperger, director of the Army. CEO of defense corporation Rheinmetall, the gun manufacturer for Leopard 2, commented.