The German government has decided to provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBT) and allowed partner countries to transfer tanks of this MBT model that are in service of their armies.
What is currently known about the transfer and what are the main features of this tank?
Twelve countries (Poland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, and others) have expressed their readiness to provide Leopard 2 tanks. In the near future, the coalition plans to form 2 full-fledged tank battalions (80 combat vehicles) for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
While not many countries have the latest Leopard 2 modifications, it should be noted that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will receive three types of these MBT modifications: A4, A5, and A6 (this is the modification that will be provided by Germany itself).
The tank is equipped with a 120-mm smoothbore cannon, the length of the gun is 44 calibres, and the rate of fire is 10-12 rounds per minute.
The A4 model is the most common in Europe. It was mass-produced in 1985-1992. Despite the fact that this is the oldest version that can be transferred to Ukraine, tanks of this modification are equipped with thermal imagers and a digital fire control system.
The A5 version was introduced in 1995. It fixed the main shortcomings and introduced improvements to the previous modification: additional turret armour, a new fire control system, replacement of hydraulic drives with electric ones, and a commander's panorama. However, the weight of the vehicle has also increased from 55 tonnes (in the A4 version) to 62.5 tonnes.
The A6 modification, promised by Germany itself, was first created 2in 2001. It differs from the A5 in terms of firepower and improved accuracy, thanks to the installation of the Rh-120 cannon with an extended barrel of 55 calibres. It is also equipped with 7.62 mm MG3 machine guns, one of which can be used as an anti-aircraft weapon. The fuel tanks have a special filler that prevents them from exploding in case of damage. The tank is also equipped with a laser warning system, and enhanced mine protection under the chassis.
The crew consists of four people: a commander, a gunner, a loader, and a driver.
These tanks were used during combat operations in Afghanistan. After that, it was equipped with additional underbody protection. Following Afghanistan, combat vehicles of this type were used in combat operations in Syria.
According to Boris Pistorius, Minister of Defence of Germany, the first tanks will be supplied to Ukraine in three months.