Spain joins the European plan and will supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine


The Sánchez government, which is finalizing the details, had accepted their participation as long as there was a coordinated plan at European level. Germany gave the green light on Tuesday.

Spain will join the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev after Germany finally agreed to supply this tank to the Ukrainian army. Pedro Sánchez’s government had made its participation in the operation conditional on the existence of an agreement at European level and confirmed this morning that it will join this strategy, El País said. The Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, as well as La Moncloa, are evaluating the terms under which the Spanish contribution would take place, the details of which are still unknown.

After weeks of debate and doubt, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced late Tuesday afternoon that he will send his Leopard and have other countries that have these prized German main battle tanks deliver them to Kiev as well, the magazine ‘Spiegel’ said in its digital edition. Apparently the federal government was initially going to mobilize a company of units from the Bundeswehr (the German army). The number has not yet been determined, although it was also announced yesterday that the arms company Rheinmetall could send some 139 Leopard 1 and 2 to Ukraine, although the development of these vehicles could take just under a year. However, the first could be delivered in April and May.

The Spanish army has 108 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks, the model Ukraine is demanding to halt the Russian advance and prepare a counter-offensive next spring. These are units that were leased to Germany in 1995, arrived three years later and were finally purchased in 2005 for around 15 million euros. Of this number, 53 have been out of service for ten years, when they were parked in the logistics center of Casetas (Zaragoza), in a long-term warehouse.

Initially, these tanks were distributed among the battalions of the mechanized brigades in Córdoba and Badajoz and in the training unit in Zaragoza. Units were also sent to Vitoria, Valladolid and Madrid. But with the arrival of the modern 2003 Leopard 2E manufactured by the Spanish firm Santa Bárbara (today General Dynamics), active German 2A4 veterans were sent to Ceuta and Melilla cavalry regiments, in addition to remaining in the previous units .

The Leopard is one of the main battle tanks for armored units on the European continent. After Germany and Greece, Spain is the country with the largest donation. They are faster than the Russian T-72, reach 68 kilometers per hour and are less heavy, almost ten tons less (55), and with the same range (about 500 kilometers) as the American Abrams. In its armament it has a 120 mm gun with the capacity to launch up to 42 projectiles more than two kilometers away and two 7.62 mm caliber machine guns. Four crewmen enter (driver, gunner, tank commander and loader) and the armor ranges from 13 to 110mm sheet steel.

The notable sibling of the 2A4 is the Leopard 2E, of which 219 Spanish Army units were produced between 2003 and 2008 after obtaining the German patent. The cost per unit exceeds 11 million euros. This is, for example, the tank that Tierra is using in the NATO mission in Latvia to counter the Russian threat, which has been going on since the end of 2017.

Source: La Verdad


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