14 Leopard 2 tanks might be joined by 88 Leopard 1 fashions from one manufacturing facility and as much as 99 from one other
The protection and economic system ministries in Berlin introduced on Tuesday that Germany had authorized the export of as much as 187 Leopard I tanks to Ukraine. Not like the 14 Leopard 2 fashions taken from the Bundeswehr, that are as a consequence of arrive in March, the older panzers will take a while to refurbish at two industrial services.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave in to Kiev’s calls for on January 25, promising each sorts of tanks as quickly as he may get them delivered. The Federal Safety Council formally authorized the export license for the panzers on February 3, however didn’t announce the numbers till Tuesday, in line with Der Spiegel and the German version of Enterprise Insider (BI).
The plan for the Leopard 2s is to assemble about two tank battalions – 61 tanks in complete – from each the German navy and different EU and NATO nations. The primary 14 panzers are imagined to cross into Ukraine “on the finish of March.”
The older Leopard 1s will take a bit of longer. The Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) has between 90 and 99 tanks at their manufacturing facility close to the Danish border. Based on Der Spiegel, they’ve already refurbished “nearly 30” and will ship them “as early as spring.”
In the meantime, Rheinmetall has made a take care of Italy to purchase 88 of the Leopards retired years in the past and positioned in storage. They should be rebuilt utterly earlier than they are often despatched to Kiev, a course of that may take months, Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger advised Reuters. He estimated the corporate would have the ability to ship as much as 25 Leopards this 12 months, whereas the remaining would are available 2024.
Whereas this places the whole variety of Leopard 1s at 187, the media famous that lots of the tanks must be cannibalized for components throughout the refurbishing course of, so the precise quantity delivered to Ukraine will definitely be decrease.
“What number of Leopard 1A5 principal battle tanks will really be delivered to Ukraine is dependent upon the required restore work,” stated a joint assertion from two German ministries, as quoted by BI.
Ammunition for the panzers’ 105mm principal gun might also current a logistical problem. Der Spiegel claims there have been solely 25,000 rounds obtainable and that producing extra may take months. In the meantime, Insider argued that utilizing standardized NATO tank ammunition may assist Ukraine’s provide state of affairs. The outlet famous that nevertheless many Leopards finally arrive in Ukraine, they are going to be “too late anyway” to fulfill the anticipated Russian “spring offensive.”
Kiev has demanded no less than 300 Western tanks and lots of extra armored autos, having apparently expended its prewar arsenal, in addition to lots of of legacy Soviet-era tanks equipped by japanese NATO members final 12 months.
The Leopard 1 was designed within the Fifties and upgraded by means of the Nineteen Eighties. Germany retired the final of its personal Leopard 1s by 2003, leaving the tank in lively service with the militaries of Brazil, Chile, Greece and Türkiye in the intervening time.
Moscow has repeatedly criticized the West for supplying weapons to Kiev, arguing that they solely served to delay the battle and human struggling. Russian media retailers have additionally identified the symbolism within the initially reported tank numbers, with 14/88 generally used as code by neo-Nazis, each within the West and in Ukraine.