German media reported that the German government approved a plan to sell 88 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine in a deal worth more than $108 million.
The Suddeutsche newspaper on February 3 reported that the sale of the Leopard 1 main tank to Ukraine is expected to be worth more than 100 million euros (more than 108 million dollars).
88 Leopard 1 tank will be repaired and upgraded by Rheinmetall Arms Corporation before being exported to Ukraine.
German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit in a press conference on the same day announced that the country had issued a license to export Leopard 1 tanks but did not disclose the number and units involved.
The move to approve the export of Leopard 1 shows that Germany continues to reverse its policy of transferring weapons to Ukraine after announcing the supply of Leopard 2 main battle tanks last week.
However, the Suddeutsche newspaper said that the decision to transfer Leopard 1 risks causing a bottleneck in the supply of weapons to Ukraine because this main tank is no longer in production. In addition, the Leopard 1 uses a 105 mm cannon with a slit, firing a different type of ammunition than the 120 mm smoothbore gun on the Leopard 2 tank.
After weeks of pressure from partners, Germany on January 25 announced its approval to transfer about 80 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, including 14 tanks in the country’s service. The decision was made on the same day the US announced the aid of 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine.
The West hopes that the main battle tank Leopard 2, with the US-made M1 Abrams and the British Challenger 2, can help Ukraine reduce casualties, strengthen the front line against Russia, or even open new counter-attacks.
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.”
The Leopard 1 main battle tank was developed by Porsche in the 1960s, with more than 4,700 units produced. Leopard 1 weighs 42.2 tons, is equipped with 105 mm L7A3 cannon, and two MG-3 or FN MAG guns that can reach a maximum speed of 65 km / h with a range of 450-600 km.
Leopard 1 has a lighter weight and less firepower than Leopard 2, a 62-ton tank that is equipped with a 120 mm Rh-120 smoothbore cannon and advanced armor. However, many German officials believe Leopard 1 can still confront the main Russian tank.