As expected, the German government has finally officially confirmed the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, opening up such an opportunity to other countries that are armed with German heavy equipment. The first step will be the transfer to Ukraine of 14 main battle tanks Leopard 2A6 from the warehouses of the Bundeswehr. This is reported by Spiegel, referring to the statement of the spokesman of the German government Steffen Hebestreit.
“This decision corresponds to our line of support to Ukraine to the best of our ability. We act at the international level in a coordinated manner,” the spokesman quoted Chancellor Olaf Scholz as saying.
Germany plans to assemble two Leopard 2 tank battalions for Ukraine as soon as possible, that is, we are talking about 60-80 vehicles. The first 14 Leopard 2A6s are a fully equipped tank company. In addition, the aid package includes ammunition, logistics, maintenance and, of course, training of Ukrainian crews in Germany.
In addition, the federal government will grant permission to partner countries to supply their own Leopard tanks to Ukraine. For example, Poland submitted a corresponding application a few days ago.
In general, according to ABC News, citing Ukrainian officials, the possibility of supplying 100 Leopard 2 tanks from a coalition of 12 NATO countries, which include Poland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands is being discussed.
Sweden is also considering the possibility of supplying Stridsvagn 122 tanks to Ukraine. This is a Swedish modification of the Leopard 2A5.
The last straw that moved the German government to the decision to transfer the tanks was the still unconfirmed information of The Wall Street Journal about a possible US decision to provide Ukraine with 30 Abrams M1 main battle tanks.
The Leopard 2A6 is the penultimate modification of the Leopard 2 tanks, which entered service in 2007. It has an updated 120mm Rheinmetall L/55 gun and a number of other modifications. The cost of one Leopard 2A6 tank is $8.42 million in 2022 prices.
Thank you, Germany! Now we await good news from other allies.
Leopard 2A6 technical specifications
Mass – 62.3 tons
Length – 9.97
Width – 3.75 m
Height – 3.0 m
Crew – 4
Armor – 2A6: 3rd generation composite; including high-hardness steel, tungsten and plastic filler with ceramic component
Main armament – Rh-120 L/55 120mm Rheinmetall gun (42 rounds)
Secondary armament – 2 × 7.62 mm MG3A1 or 2 × 7.62 mm FN MAG (4,750 rounds)
Engine – diesel V12 MTU MB 873 Ka-501
Power – 1479 hp. (1103 kW)
Fuel capacity – 1200 liters
Operating range – 340 km (highway), 220 km (ground)
Maximum speed – 70 km/h