As the Russian army retreated to the eastern and southern Ukrainian fronts for preparation, most outsiders believed that the decisive battle of the Ukrainian-Russian war would be in the Donbass region, and Ukraine needed more armored vehicles to improve the chance of victory. German defense manufacturer Rheinmetall said that as long as Germany The government has agreed to deliver the first stockpiled Leopard 1s to Ukraine within six weeks.
The Leopard 1 is the main tank launched by Porsche in 1961 and entered service in 1965. It is the first main tank launched by West Germany after the end of World War II. The vehicle weighs 42.5 tons and has a length of 8.17 meters. , 3.37 meters wide, MTU 10-cylinder 37.4-liter multi-fuel engine with a maximum output of 830 horsepower.
The main armament is a British Royal Arsenal L7A3 105mm rifled gun, two 7.62mm MG3 general-purpose machine guns and smoke grenade launchers, with a top speed of 65 kilometers per hour and a plain combat range of up to 600 kilometers.
Until the 1980s, there were five improved versions of the Leopard 1, and the last A4 and A5 are still in service in Brazil, Denmark, Chile, Greece, Ecuador and other countries.
Since the outbreak of the Ukrainian-Russian war, Germany has announced a number of rearmament plans, including a special military expenditure of 100 billion euros next year, that is, the annual military budget will be increased to 2% of GDP and other goals, and support including Panzerfaust 3 (Panzerfaust 3) anti-armor rockets, and weapons such as the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle delivered to the former East Germany through the Czech Republic.
However, the German economy has long relied on Russian oil and natural gas imports. Prime Minister Schoots has always had reservations about providing more heavy weapons to Ukraine, or asked for a third country to transfer it to slow down the deterioration of relations with Moscow. Public opinion and international criticism have been widely criticized. .
Therefore, Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, a major German defense company, said in an interview with the German media Handelsblatt recently that as long as the German government agrees, the company can transfer the stock Leopard 1 to Ukraine. , the first batch of about 50 can be delivered in as little as six weeks.
Although the Leopard 1 has been in service for a long time, the A4 and A5 versions of the 1970s and 1980s can still compete with the Russian T-72 series of chariots. Although the Ukrainian army needs additional conversion training before receiving it, Papuyage Speaking to the Business Daily, he believes that the Ukrainian army should be able to complete the training in a short period of time. Marcus Faber, head of defense policy of the German Free Democratic Party, also believes that in the urgency of the war, the Ukrainian army may change training faster than usual. Expect to be shorter.
It is not clear which government will come forward if the German government agrees to the handover. Based on Germany’s policy of reluctance to hand over weapons directly, foreign media believe that Rheinmetall may cooperate with the Italian government to remove the nearly 1,000 vehicles from the country’s inventory of Leopards. Among them, select vehicles in good condition and send them to Ukraine, just like the recent cooperation with the Czech Republic to hand over the BMP-1.
Since Moscow’s recent strategic goal has shifted to consolidating the Donbas and Uranian coastlines, if the Ukrainian army wants to completely expel the Russian army, it will need more heavy weapons such as armored vehicles, fighter jets, anti-ship missiles and long-range anti-aircraft missiles. If Germany can hand over the Leopard 1 tank, it will be of great help to the Ukrainian army in the future decisive battle in Donbass.