A coalition of Western nations is ready to send some 100 Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine, pending approval from Germany.
It was last week that Poland and Finland indicated publicly that they’d be willing to provide a number of the Cold War MBTs – largely considered the very best tank in service in the world today – while Spain, the Netherlands, and Denmark are also reported to be willing to send vehicles from their respective arsenals a well.
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However, Berlin will have the final say however, as it must approve any re-export of the Leopards 2.
Germany announced on Tuesday that a decision would come soon.
“We are preparing our decision and it will come very soon,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, Warsaw formally asked for approval from Germany to send the Leopard 2 to Ukraine and has accused Berlin of “wasting time” by failing to come to a decision.
Poland has already made it somewhat clear that it would seek permission.
Still, it could take the course of asking for forgiveness instead – especially as Berlin has indicated it would not stand in the way of Poland sending the tanks across its eastern border into Ukraine.
The Leopard 2 is armed with a 120mm smoothbore gun and can reach speeds of 70km (45mph).
Rheinmetall Could Step Up for Ukraine on Leopard 2
The other notable development on Tuesday was that German defense group Rheinmetall, manufacturer of the Leopard 2, announced that it could deliver 139 MBTs to Ukraine should it be required.
That would include 29 Leopard 2A4 tanks, which could be sent to aid Kyiv by as early as April/May, while an additional 22 could be supplied by the end of this year or early next year.
The German defense contractor further said it could also supply 88 older Leopard 1 tanks – although it didn’t lay out a timeline, Reuters reported.
The company raised its sales expectations for 2025 on higher demand for weapons due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and it called upon Berlin to speed up any planned orders.
Germany has already earmarked 100 billion euros ($109 billion) to modernize its military following decades of attrition that began at the end of the Cold War.
“The entire German industry is ready. The resources are there, the people are there, we also have the know-how,” Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said on Tuesday at an industry event hosted by German business daily Handelsblatt.
Papperger had told German magazine Stern that the company is on track to see between 11 billion and 12 billion euros ($12 billion to $13 billion) in 2025, up from a range of 10 billion to 11 billion euros that the company had forecast last November.
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
January 25, 2023 at 3:18 am
Now how many modern anti-tank weapons can be purchased/produced for the price of one Western tank? Quite a few, I would surmise, maybe 20 to 50 or more, depending on model? And how many could the Russians mount on their own versions of the Jeep and Hummer—-small, fast-moving, and consequently much harder to hit than a tank? Able to hide in, and duck out of and back in wooded/forested areas? Just situate them in such areas for relatively easy ambush of whatever NATO-supplied tanks roll by. Even in more open terrain they could be put to use with good effect. Remember what the Egyptians did to Israeli armor during the first part of the Yom Kippur war with the comparatively-now-lowly Sagger missile, and that was in wide open desert terrain. These warmongering fools in NATO leadership circles, they think now that NATO tanks will be the ultimate game-changer. Unlikely, if the Russians play their preparations right.