When will Ukraine get the first Leopard 1 tanks? – Technology Org
In the light of the Leopard 2 coming to Ukraine, people overlooked another armored gift – Ukraine will soon get some older Leopard 1 tanks, which are still capable of combat. They are not exactly new, but they can be extremely useful in the planned spring counteroffensive.
The international coalition of Netherlands, Germany and Denmark will provide Ukraine with a minimum of 100 Leopard 1A5 tanks.
In fact, if Germany is successful in bringing stored tanks into full combat readiness and Belgium joins these efforts, the number of Leopard 1A5 tanks in the Ukrainian Armed Forces may come up to around 237. Or more, because there are some of these tanks in storage elsewhere and they just need to be purchased and brought into good condition.
And that’s the main thing – the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark are actually not operating Leopard 1A5 tanks at the moment. They haven’t been using them for quite some time now, even if they have them in storage. The Leopard 2 simply took the position of the previous generation and is NATO standard. This means that all of the Leopard 1A5 tanks have to be prepared before they can re-enter active service.
On the 10th of March, the Acting Minister of Defense of Denmark Troels Lund Poulsen visited Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft – the company preparing Leopard 1A5s for Ukraine – and said: “I was there to see that the work to prepare Leopard 1 tanks for Ukraine is progressing so that we can get them going as soon as possible. I am proud that Denmark, in cooperation with other countries, supports the Ukrainian freedom struggle with a large and important donation, and we still hope to be able to deliver the first tanks to Ukraine during the spring.”
Of course, Ukraine will not get all of those tanks at once. The head of Rheinmetall, a German company storing and restoring some of the Leopard 1A5s of this project, Armin Papperger previously noted that in 2023 the company will be able to supply no more than 20-25 tanks.
Still, they will be very important whenever they come, because this conflict is not going to end any time soon and Ukraine cannot be armed just with the newer Leopard 2 tanks.
Leopard 1A5 does not have as thick of armor or fire control systems. Of course, it remains to be seen what will be done in the reintroduction of these tanks before they are delivered. They also have a 105 mm rifled gun – a contrast from the 120 mm smoothbore on the Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams.
Interestingly, the 1A5 has a turret which was designed to accept the newer 120 mm gun, but this option was never used. Maybe Ukraine can use it at least after the war.
Leopard 1A5 dates back to the 1980’s, but many tanks on both sides of this conflict are actually older. Russia is using T-62 tanks, which entered service in 1961. A lot of the T-72s on the battlefield in Ukraine are older than the Leopard 1A5.
Sources: Defense-ua.com, Wikipedia