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A take a look at Leopard 2 tanks that would quickly be despatched to Ukraine

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A take a look at Leopard 2 tanks that would quickly be despatched to Ukraine

2023-01-23 16:58:22


GENEVA — Following intense stress from its allies, Germany seems to be inching towards approving deliveries of high-tech Leopard 2 foremost battle tanks that Ukraine and its greatest Western backers hope will enhance Kyiv’s struggle in opposition to Russian invaders.

Over the weekend German International Minister Annalena Baerbock stated Berlin wouldn’t get in the best way if Poland – arguably Ukraine’s most vocal supporter amongst European Union neighbors – needs to ship Leopard 2 tanks from its arsenal throughout the border into Ukraine. And Germany is no longer ruling out supplying such tanks to Ukraine itself, cautioning nonetheless that the implications of such a step have to be fastidiously weighed.

Right here’s a take a look at what these tanks may imply for Ukraine’s protection in opposition to Russian forces – and hopes for driving them out.

WHAT IS THE LEOPARD 2?

Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the producer of the Leopard 2, touts it as “the world’s main battle tank” that for over practically a half-century has mixed features of firepower, safety, pace and maneuverability, making it adaptable to many kinds of fight conditions.

The 55-ton tank has a crew of 4 and a variety of about 500 kilometers (310 miles), and prime speeds of about 68 kilometers per hour (about 42 mph). Now with 4 foremost variants, its earliest model first got here into service in 1979. Its foremost weapon is a 120mm clean bore gun and it has a fully-digital fire-control system.


PHOTOS: A take a look at Leopard 2 tanks that would quickly be despatched to Ukraine


HOW MANY COULD BE SENT TO UKRAINE?

One massive enchantment of the German-made tanks are their sheer quantity: Greater than 2,000 have been deployed in over a dozen European international locations and Canada. Total, KMW says over 3,500 models have been equipped to 19 international locations.

Rheinmetall AG, a German protection contractor that makes the 120mm smoothbore gun on the Leopard 2, says the tank has been deployed by “extra nations that some other.”

In keeping with a latest evaluation by the Worldwide Institute for Strategic Research, a London-based international assume tank, some 350 Leopard 2s – in several variations – have been despatched to Greece, and Poland has about 250 of various sorts. Finland has 200 in operation or in storage.

For Ukraine’s struggle in opposition to Russia, “It’s believed that for the Leopard 2 tanks to have any important impact on the combating, round 100 tanks could be required,” the IISS analysts wrote.

Ukraine’s protection minister needs 300 tanks, and a few European Union leaders help him on that.

“We’d like a fleet of 300 tanks,” Luxembourg’s International Minister Jean Asselborn stated Monday in Brussels, alluding to the vast deployment of Leopards throughout Europe, and the necessity for “synchronous” weaponry – that may function easily collectively.

Getting Leopards into Ukrainian arms isn’t as straightforward as rolling them throughout the border from buddies farther West in Europe. IISS estimates that three to 6 weeks of coaching could be wanted for working crews and help workers to succeed in primary proficiency.

WHAT DIFFERENCE WOULD IT MAKE TO THE WAR?

Yohann Michel, a analysis analyst for protection and navy affairs at IISS, stated such tanks may enable Ukraine to go onto the offensive within the 11-month-old battle that has been stalemated for months following two key Ukrainian counteroffensives that recaptured areas occupied by Russian forces for months within the northeast and south.

“In this sort of battle, it’s simply not potential to hold out large-scale offensives with out the total number of armored fight gear and armored automobiles, and tanks are part of that,” he stated by telephone. Along with Essential Battle Tanks, or MBTs, just like the Leopard II, others embody infantry combating automobiles and armored personnel carriers.

Western deliveries of Leopard 2s may assist equip Ukraine with wanted high-caliber munitions to switch its personal Soviet-era stockpiles which have been dwindling – opening a brand new avenue for provides of Western firepower to get to Ukraine.

“In my opinion, that’s the first affect,” Michel stated by telephone. “The second affect, in fact, is to extend the variety of tanks obtainable within the Ukrainian arsenal,” which he estimated at “a number of hundred” proper now.

WHY DOESN’T UKRAINE HAVE LEOPARDS ALREADY?

Germany has last say about whether or not Leopard 2s could be delivered – even from different international locations’ arsenals – and has been reticent about anybody delivery them to Ukraine.

Extra-hawkish Western allies have been stepping up the stress on Germany, however the USA has additionally refused to ship its highly effective M1 Abrams tanks.

The USA introduced an upcoming new bundle of navy support that’s anticipated to incorporate practically 100 Stryker fight automobiles and a minimum of 50 Bradley armored automobiles – however not the Abrams, which U.S. officers say has advanced upkeep wants and might not be the very best match.

Allies and navy analysts say the Leopard 2 is diesel-powered – not pushed by jet gasoline that powers the M1 Abrams – and is less complicated to function than the large U.S. tanks, and thus has shorter coaching occasions.

Britain this month introduced it is going to ship Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, and the Czech Republic and Poland have offered Soviet-era T-72 tanks to Ukrainian forces. French President Emmanuel Macron stated Sunday that he had requested his protection minister to “work on” the thought of sending a few of France’s Leclerc battle tanks to Ukraine.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Instances, LLC.



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