German protection big Rheinmetall has bought 49 mothballed Leopard 1 battle tanks from a Belgian arms vendor to be used in Ukraine, a spokesperson for the corporate instructed The Guardian on Wednesday. The automobiles are reportedly in such poor situation that many can be appropriate just for spare elements.
The spokesperson mentioned that 30 of the tanks can be recommissioned and given to Kiev, with the remainder presumably cannibalized for elements. A German authorities spokesperson mentioned that they’d kind a part of a navy assist package deal introduced by Protection Minister Oscar Pistorius throughout a NATO summit in Lithuania final month.
Belgian arms vendor Freddy Versluys introduced the sale of the tanks on Tuesday, telling a number of media retailers that an unnamed European state had bought them for an undisclosed value.
The Belgian authorities mentioned shopping for the Leopards with Versluys earlier this 12 months, however in the end refused to pay the €500,000 ($549,000) per tank that he was asking. Belgian Protection Minister Ludivine Dedonder described the asking value as “unreasonable,” contemplating Versluys had purchased the tanks as “scrap metallic.”
Versluys purchased the tanks for €37,000 every once they have been being decommissioned by the Belgian authorities in 2014. Talking to The Guardian earlier this 12 months, he mentioned that the ageing automobiles have been in poor form, and wanted “new engines, shock absorbers, hearth management system, radar stations… the record will be continued.”
Whereas neither Rheinmetall nor Versluys have revealed the ultimate value, Versluys wrote on LinkedIn that “we requested for a good market value and somebody was more than pleased to take them.”
Manufactured by Krauss-Maffei in West Germany, the Leopard 1 entered service in 1965, and was step by step retired from the Nineties onwards. Berlin has permitted the supply of greater than 200 of those out of date automobiles to Ukraine, round 80 of which it goals to provide by the top of the 12 months.
Neither the Leopard 1 nor its successor, the Leopard 2, have made a major affect on Kiev’s battlefield fortunes. Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive in opposition to Russian forces has price Kiev 43,000 troops and 4,900 items of heavy weaponry in simply two months, in line with the Russian Protection Ministry. Dozens of Leopard tanks are included within the tally of losses, the ministry has mentioned.
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