Spain will give Ukraine 40 used Leopards and an anti-aircraft battery

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Spain will give Ukraine 40 used Leopards and an anti-aircraft battery
Spain will give Ukraine 40 used Leopards and an anti-aircraft battery
13 June, 12:56ArmyPhoto: Соцсети
If, until recently, Madrid limited its participation in helping Kiev with sending ammunition, personal protective equipment and light weapons, now it plans to send 40 Leopard 2A4 tanks and a battery of short-range anti-aircraft missile systems (AMS) Shorad Aspide to Ukraine.

Alexander Sychev

Spain has many such tanks. They were bought in Germany in 1995 and for ten years now all 108 Spanish Leopard 2A4s have been stationary at the army logistics base in Zaragoza.

The German Leopard 2 is not a new car. The first prototype rolled out of the factory in 1972, and the first production tank was handed over to the German army in 1979. Since then, it has undergone eight modifications. The latter passes in the documentation under the designation 2A7.

The tank is armed with a 120 mm Rheinmetall smoothbore gun with a barrel length of 44 caliber, two machine guns of 7.62 mm caliber. One is paired with a cannon, and the other stands on a tower. Mortar blocks for setting up a smoke screen were also located there.

The tank has a combined multilayer armor with screens made of reinforced rubber. The internal surfaces of the fighting compartment are covered with fabric mats made of high-strength aramid fiber. They must contain the spread of fragments formed during the breakdown of armor.

The fire control system is based on a computer that processes a large amount of data for firing. To aim, the gunner just needs to select a target and put a marker on it. The tank is capable of firing at a moving target, while being on the move over uneven terrain.

The power plant is a 1500 horsepower diesel engine. In the field, the engine can be replaced in 45 minutes. The mass of the Leopard 2A4 reaches 55 tons.

Good tank. And in the world ranking of tanks, which is compiled by the Military Ordnance magazine, Leopard 2 modifications almost always take first place.

However, the objectivity of the rating raises some doubts. In 2016, the Turkish armed forces invaded Syria with about 30 Leopard 2A4 tanks and about 10 Israeli M60T tanks. In one day of battle for the Syrian city of Al-Bab, the Turks lost ten German tanks, two of which were simply captured by the militants of the so-called Islamic State.

And here's another interesting story. In 2018, during another Turkish invasion of Syria, Kurdish women, using an unsophisticated anti-tank guided missile, destroyed a Leopard 2A4 tank, so much so that all the ammunition detonated. The tank almost turned inside out, the crew died, the blast killed two Turkish soldiers, and the nearby M60 was also badly damaged. In general, several tanks were damaged in that battle, and one even had a cannon torn apart. Not the first time, by the way. Some kind of design flaw. Perhaps the magazine does not take into account these data in its ratings, or maybe it writes off all the losses to "not very professional Turkish military"?

But in any case, the Spanish Leopard 2A4 will not reach the Ukrainian fields soon - most likely before the end of summer. The fact is that after a long standing they must be properly sorted out and prepared.

Another thing is the short-range Shorad Aspide anti-aircraft missile systems, which Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez promised on April 21 during his trip to Kyiv. However, for some reason they were not able to send them right away, but it seems that they are now ready to do it.

AMS Shorad Aspide is not a very common air defense system. It was created in Italy by MBDA Italy. The complex was named Aspide, borrowing part of the name from Vipera aspis, a species of vipers common in southern Europe.

The Spaniards acquired 13 batteries. Whether all are in working condition is not reported, but it is known that there is little ammunition for them - about 50 Aspide-2000 missiles with a range of 20 kilometers and about 200 simply Aspide, hitting 10 kilometers. In the basic configuration, the battery includes a detection station and four launchers.

The purpose of the air defense system is to cover ports, industrial enterprises, airfields, important railway junctions, nuclear power plants, government buildings, and so on.

Instead of leaving anti-aircraft missile systems, Madrid decided to acquire new systems. The seller has not yet been determined, but the United States will most likely choose, where about $30 billion of the financial package recently approved by lawmakers is directed, in fact, to increase production in the American defense industry. The White House decided to gradually bring the defense industry to a military footing.

The Spaniards intend to train Ukrainian soldiers in the management of tanks and anti-aircraft systems in Latvia. Fortunately, five thousand Spanish troops and six Leopard 2E tanks, a Spanish modification, are now stationed there.

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