After weeks of intense debates within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the governments of Germany and the two United States approved the sending of tanks to strengthen the defense of Ukraine, which has been at war with Russia since February 2022.
In the case of Germany, it will be at least 14 modern tanks of the Leopard 2 model – other European countries can send more than a few dozen – while the United States will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks – enough to equip nearly two companies –, manufactured in the USA.
Joe Biden, or president of the United States, confirmed the shipment at this fourth fair (25). The shipment had already been advanced by North American authorities, thus reversing Washington’s long resistance to kyiv’s requests for highly sophisticated, high-maintenance vehicles with complex logistics that, for many, will be difficult to maintain in Ukraine.
It is still unclear which model of the M1 Abrams tank the United States will send, but it will take months to find out, senior government officials will tell, and will require extensive training of Ukrainian troops on how to operate and repair them.
Biden also stressed that the UK will send its own Challenger 2 tanks – at least 14, second to the British government – but did not provide details on the timing.
Berlim’s decision affects not only the availability of shipments of tanks belonging to the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, but also the hundreds of Leopard 2 tanks in the hands of other European countries – Poland was the first country to offer its Leopard 2, but to growing list – and whose sale or doação would require the approval of Germany, for being the country of manufacture.
But how many Leopard 2 could be sent by European countries to Ukraine, which models would they be and when could they be operational?
Commitment to Germany
Germany initially promised to send 14 of its own Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, according to a government statement. This number is enough to equip a non-western NATO standard tank company, made up of three platoons (with four tanks each) and two more tanks at headquarters, according to the specifications of the US Army.
“The objective is to quickly assemble two battalions of Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine”, said the statement, with the remainder to be completed by supplies of European partners.
Each battalion, in turn, is made up of three or four companies, with a total of between 42 and 56 tanks.
According to the German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, the Leopard 2 tanks supplied by Germany can be deployed operationally in Ukraine within three months.
It is not clear when the Leopard 2 tanks delivered to other European countries would be operational, but which countries would supply them and in what quantity.
Who could supply the tanks that are missing?
Poland, which possesses a large fleet of Leopard 2 A4 and A5, was the first country to offer an aircraft carrier (about 14 tanks) to Ukraine.
The Netherlands, which does not formally possess Leopard 2 tanks, but leases 18 from Germany, said that it was willing to buy these tanks to send them to Ukraine, while Norway said that it would also “contribute” between 4 and 8 tanks.
Spain would also be willing to send Leopard 2 tanks, but in coordination with its NATO allies, second to Defense Minister Margarita Robles. She does not speak of numbers or terms.
In all, there are 13 countries in Europe, with about 2,000 Leopard 2 tanks – in different states – in their armed forces, according to the think tank of the Conselho Europeu de Relações Exteriores.
Quais as capacities two Leopard 2 tanks
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank that entered service in 1979, but through successive modernizations and updates it continues to be one of the two most modern and capable armored vehicles in the world.
It is armed with a 120 mm smooth barrel barrel (NATO standard), can reach speeds of 70 km/h, or 50 km/h off-road, with very good maneuverability, and is protected by concentrated advanced armor. front, according to the German manufacturer Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann.
Its older variants are the A4 and A5, while the A7 is more advanced and is considered front line due to its fire power, mobility, armor and shooting systems, with the ability to face the most advanced tanks in favorable conditions.
The Leopard 2 A4s can be identified by the front of their turrets, while the A5s, A6s and A7s use an armor design inclined at an angle for better protection.
The Leopard 2 was exported to Germany to various countries and used in combat against irregular forces in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Syria – used by Turkey –, but an eventual implantation in Ukraine would be the first time they would face Russian tanks like the T-72 , T-80 and T-90.
It is not clear which variants of the Leopard 2 will be shipped to Ukraine by Germany and other European users of the tank.
Source: CNN Espanol