A look at Leopard 2 tanks that could soon be sent to Ukraine

GENEVA: Next rigorous force from its allies, Germany seems to be inching toward approving deliveries of substantial-tech Leopard 2 most important battle tanks that Ukraine and its largest Western backers hope will raise Kyiv’s battle from Russian invaders.

Above the weekend, German International Minister Annalena Baerbock stated Berlin would not get in the way if Poland – arguably Ukraine’s most vocal supporter amid European Union neighbours – wants to ship Leopard 2 tanks from its arsenal across the border into Ukraine.

And Germany is now not ruling out providing this sort of tanks to Ukraine alone, cautioning having said that that the implications of these types of a stage require to be cautiously weighed.

Here’s a glimpse at what individuals tanks could mean for Ukraine’s defence against Russian forces – and hopes for driving them out.

WHAT IS THE LEOPARD 2?

Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the maker of the Leopard 2, touts it as “the world’s foremost struggle tank” that for more than practically a 50 %-century has merged facets of firepower, security, velocity and manoeuvrability, building it adaptable to many varieties of overcome cases.

The 55-ton tank has a crew of four and a selection of about 500km, and best speeds of about 68kmh. Now with 4 primary variants, its earliest edition very first came into company in 1979. Its most important weapon is a 120mm easy bore gun and it has a absolutely-digital fireplace-control method.

HOW A lot of COULD BE Despatched TO UKRAINE?

A single significant charm of the German-made tanks is their sheer quantity: A lot more than 2,000 have been deployed in about a dozen European international locations and Canada. Overall, KMW claims above 3,500 models have been provided to 19 nations.

Rheinmetall AG, a German defence contractor that makes the 120mm smoothbore gun on the Leopard 2, says the tank has been deployed by “more nations than any other”.

In accordance to a recent analysis by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-dependent world wide feel tank, some 350 Leopard 2s – in distinct versions – have been sent to Greece, and Poland has about 250 of varying sorts. Finland has 200 in operation or in storage.

For Ukraine’s war versus Russia, “It is thought that for the Leopard 2 tanks to have any sizeable impact on the fighting, around 100 tanks would be required”, the IISS analysts wrote.

Ukraine’s defence minister desires 300 tanks, and some European Union leaders support him on that.

“We want a fleet of 300 tanks,” Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn mentioned Monday in Brussels, alluding to the vast deployment of Leopards across Europe, and the need to have for “synchronous” weaponry – that can run easily alongside one another.

Receiving Leopards into Ukrainian arms isn’t as easy as rolling them throughout the border from mates farther West in Europe. IISS estimates that 3 to six weeks of teaching would be wanted for running crews and assistance staff to reach simple proficiency.