The first Leopard 2s are in Ukraine
The first Leopard 2s are in Ukraine
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| Gaétan Powis | Source : Air&Cosmos 350 mots

The first Leopard 2s are in Ukraine

During a visit to Ukraine by the Polish Prime Minister, Ukraine received its first Leopard 2A4 battle tanks, delivered by Poland. Ukraine should soon receive many tanks, including a majority of Leopard 2s, allowing it to complete its mass of battle tanks.

The Leopard in Ukraine

On February 24, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was visiting Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. In addition to making several official visits and meetings, the Polish prime minister also used his visit and the anniversary of the Russian invasion to present the first modern tanks to the Ukrainians. Thus, the Ukrainian Land Forces now have four Leopard 2 tanks in their inventory. To be more precise, these are four Leopard 2A4s, the most widely used version of this battle tank;

  • Rheinmetall L/44 120mm smoothbore gun
  • improved composite armor (turret and chassis)
  • digitized systems
  • 55-ton mass
  • manual loader
  • ammunition installed in two parts of the tank, separate from the crew (increases crew survivability, unlike Soviet and Russian tanks)

The Leopard 2A4 in Poland

These battle tanks were acquired second-hand by Poland in 2002. An agreement had been reached (estimated at $300-380 million) with Germany for the acquisition of ;

  • 4 Keiler mine-clearing tanks (M48 Patton chassis)
  • 6 BrPz-1 Biber bridge-launching tanks (Leopard 1 chassis)
  • 10 BPz-2 recovery tanks (Leopard 1 chassis)
  • 35 M113 armored personnel carriers, including 16 ambulance versions and 19 M577 command post
  • 128 Leopard 2A4 battle tanks

It should be noted that another 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks were purchased in 2013, also second-hand from Germany.

It should definitely not be compared to the Leopard 2PL, an upgraded version of the Polish Leopard 2A4 or the Polish Leopard 2A5, purchased in 2013. Although this tank is not recent (production from 1985), it is specially developed to cope with the Soviet T-72, currently the main battle tank of the Russian Army (considered an equivalent, except for the latest improved versions of the T-72). It should be noted that the old Russian T-64 or T-62 will not be a match for these tanks (ability to pierce to the front armor at about 4,000 meters).

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