Spain approves delivery to Ukraine of 40 Leopard 2A4 tanks and Aspide missile systems
According to information published by the Spanish newspaper "El Pais" on June 5, 2022, Spain approves the delivery to Ukraine of 40 Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and Aspide air defense missile systems.
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Spanish army Leopard 2A4 main battle tank. (Picture source Army Recognition)
Citing information published on the Internet, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Spain has already provided 20 tons of humanitarian aid worth more than €150,000 and 54 pallets of medicines and medical supplies. In terms of weapons, Spain has supplied 1,370 Instalaza C-90 anti-tank grenade launchers, an unspecified number of light machine guns, and 700,000 bullets as well as one RG-31 Nyala 4x4 mine-resistant armored vehicle in ambulance configuration.
Now Spain is ready to increase its military aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces with the delivery of Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and Aspide air defense missile systems. The shipment of the Aspide missile systems, produced by the European missile company MBDA, is pending completion of the negotiations through a cell in Germany that is in charge to coordinate the military aid to Ukraine. The Aspide is no longer in service with the Spanish army and it was replaced by a more modern air defense system.
Spain is also ready to deliver 40 Leopard 2A4 tanks that have been stored for a decade in a logistics base of the Spanish army. At the same time, Spain will train the Ukraine soldiers to operate these tanks. The training will be conducted by Spanish soldiers deployed in Latvia, where the Spanish Army has a contingent of 500 soldiers with six Leopard 2E tanks, within the framework of NATO's Enhanced Advanced Presence (EFP) operation.
According to the military balance 2021, Spain has a total of 327 MBTs including 108 German Leopard 2A4 and 218 Leopard 2E. The 108 Leopard 2A4s are second-hand tanks bought by Spain from Germany in 1985. The Leopard 2A4 is a German-made main battle tank designed and manufactured by the Company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the successor of the main battle tank Leopard 1.
The Leopard 2A4 tank is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun which has been developed by Rheinmetall and fires two types of ammunition, APFSDS-T, and HEAT-MP-T. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted to the left side of the main armament and one 7.62mm machine gun to the hatch of the loader. Two banks of four 76mm smoke grenade dischargers are mounted to each side of the turret.
The layout of the Leopard 2A4 is conventional for a modern main battle tank with the drive position at the front, the turret in the middle, and the powerpack at the rear. It has a crew of four including a driver, commander, gunner, and loader. The Leopard 2A4 is fitted with a new digital fire control system and an improved turret with more armor.
The Leopard 2A4 is motorized with an MTU MB 873 diesel engine, which provides 1,103 kW of engine output. It can run at a maximum road speed of 72 km with a maximum cruising range of 550 km.
The Aspide is a medium-range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile that was produced by the Italian company Selenia. Spain ordered 200 Aspide missiles in 1985 that were delivered in 1987-1989 as part of a $230 m deal for 6 Spada SAM systems. In 1996, 51 Aspide 2000 were ordered and delivered in 1997-1999 for the Spada 2000 SAM (Surface to Air Missile) systems.
The Spada is an all-weather air defense missile that is able to launch the Aspide 2000 missile which has a maximum firing range of 20 km.
Spanish army launcher unit of Spada Aspide air defense missile system. (Picture source Army Recognition)