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Ukraine Army receives first 10 Danish Leopard 1A5 MBTs

On September 8, 2023, ten Danish Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks were delivered to Ukraine, with more en route. The Danish Ministry of Defense confirmed the ongoing operation, which has been in preparation since the spring. Training sessions are being organized in Germany, where Danish tank instructors are collaborating with German specialists to train Ukrainian crews before handing over the tanks.
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Danish Main Battle Tank Leopard 1A5DK (Picture source: Danish MoD )

In February 2023, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen announced that Denmark, in collaboration with the Netherlands and Germany, would provide a significant number of Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine as part of the EUMAM initiative. The Danish Ministry of Defense has thus reported that the first ten Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks have been delivered to Ukraine and will most likely be combat-ready in a short period.

The Leopard 1A5, an upgraded version of the Leopard 1, was introduced in 1987 and has been in service ever since. Its primary armament consists of a rifled Royal Ordnance L7A3 105mm cannon, and it can carry 60 shells—42 in the hull and 18 in the turret. The tank is also equipped with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and another 7.62mm machine gun for anti-aircraft defense. It is operated by a crew of four and has a maximum road speed of 65 km/h. The tank has a range of 600 km on the road and 450 km off-road.

Its engine, the MTU MB 838 Ca M-500, a multi-fuel 10-cylinder engine, produces 830 horsepower at 2,200 rpm. The tank's transmission is a ZF 4 HP 250 planetary gearbox with a hydraulic torque converter, offering four forward and two reverse speeds. The tank's armor can be augmented with bolted-on polycarbonate (Lexan) panels, enhancing its defensive capabilities.

Danish instructors are responsible for the initial phase of crew training, after which their German counterparts take over. The training process is expedited compared to standard procedures. "There is no doubt that the task carried out by Danish tank instructors is of great importance to Ukraine. With nearly 100 tanks supplied by Denmark and Germany, our well-trained and dedicated instructors ensure that this aid turns into another powerful weapon for Ukraine's defense," said the Danish Defense Minister.

The arrival of these tanks is a significant reinforcement for Ukraine. Although they may not be as spectacular as new main battle tanks, the potentially large number of them being sent to Ukraine will undoubtedly have a positive impact on Ukrainian forces. No single weapon is a game-changer, and the Leopard 1A5 will most likely not be one either; however, several hundred Leopard 1A5s will have a heavy impact on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.


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