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Germany Delivers Additional Leopard 1A5 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine.


Germany has provided an extensive military aid package, including 10 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks. This delivery, announced on May 22, 2024, includes ammunition for Leopard 2 tanks, 8,500 rounds of 155 mm ammunition, 20 Vector reconnaissance drones with spare parts, 34 RQ-35 Heidrun reconnaissance drones, and various other military equipment.
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German Leopard 1A5 Main Battle Tank. (Picture source: Wikimedia)


Among the additional equipment delivered are four Wisent 1 demining tanks, 1.8 million rounds of small arms ammunition, a Dachs armored engineer vehicle, a Beaver bridge-laying tank with spare parts, and a Bergepanzer 2 armored recovery vehicle with spare parts. Ukraine also received 16 Zetros tankers, 111 CR 308 rifles, 80 HLR 338 precision rifles, 540 MK 556 assault knives, 400 LED lamps, and two mine plows. The Leopard 1A5 tanks were delivered as part of a joint project with Denmark.

Despite initial reluctance, Germany has become Ukraine's second-largest military donor, following the United States. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz remains hesitant to provide certain key capabilities, particularly Taurus long-range missiles.

Previously, Germany had delivered 30 Leopard 1A5 tanks. The additional ten sent as of May 22 brings the total to 40 Leopard 1A5s. While the German tank, though technologically outdated, may not represent a significant addition to Ukraine's arsenal in terms of technical capabilities, its value lies in the potential quantity that Western countries could provide. The Leopard 1A5 is widely used globally, and a substantial number could be made available to Ukraine.


A Ukrainian Leopard 1A5 Main Battle Tank. (Picture source: Social Media)


The Leopard 1A5 is a main battle tank equipped with a Royal Ordnance L7A3 105 mm rifled gun. This primary gun can fire all standard 105 mm rounds manufactured by various countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The tank uses a semi-automatic loading system and can carry up to 60 rounds, with 42 in the hull and 18 in the turret.

In terms of secondary armament, the Leopard 1A5 is equipped with a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun mounted to the right of the main armament, and another 7.62 mm machine gun mounted at the commander's or loader's station for anti-aircraft defense. It carries a total of 5,500 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition for these machine guns. Additionally, it is fitted with four 76 mm smoke grenade launchers mounted on each side of the turret.

The Leopard 1A5 is designed for optimal protection, with a welded hull and a cast turret. The standard armor varies, with a maximum thickness of 7 cm and a minimum of 0.8 cm on the top of the hull, which could be a vulnerability in drone attacks. Adding a cage armor could be a good idea. The turret armor ranges from 5 cm at the front to 6 cm on the sides and rear. It can also be equipped with additional polycarbonate (Lexan) armor panels for enhanced protection. The tank features NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) protection, creating an overpressure in the crew compartment.

The Leopard 1A5 is powered by an MTU MB 838 Ca M-500 10-cylinder multifuel engine, developing 830 horsepower at 2,200 rpm. It is equipped with a ZF 4 HP 250 transmission with a hydraulic torque converter, offering four forward and two reverse gears. Its suspension includes seven road wheels with light metal and rubber tires, hydraulic shock absorbers on several wheel stations, and track return rollers. The tank can reach a maximum speed of 65 km/h on the road and has a range of 600 km on the road, reduced to 450 km cross-country.

The Leopard 1A5 features computerized fire control systems, including the Krupp-Atlas EMES-18 system and a TEM 2A optical laser rangefinder. It also has night and day vision systems, including a Zeiss thermal imaging system for improved performance in low visibility conditions. For communication, the tank uses SEM 80/90 digital radios. Additional equipment includes an automatic fire detection and extinguishing system, a heater, a hull escape hatch, and infrared-reflecting decontamination paint.

In terms of off-road capabilities, the Leopard 1A5 can handle gradients of 60%, side slopes of 30%, vertical obstacles of 1.15 meters, and trenches of 3 meters. It has a fording capacity of 1.2 meters without preparation, up to 2.25 meters with preparation, and 4 meters with a snorkel.

In service since 1987, the Leopard 1A5, produced in Germany, is used by several countries, including Brazil, Greece, and Ukraine. The tank's armament can rotate 360 degrees and elevate from +20° to -9°. With a length of 7.09 meters, a width of 3.37 meters, and a height of 2.76 meters, the Leopard 1A5 has a combat weight of 40 tons.

Germany's commitment to supporting Ukraine is set to continue, with plans to increase military aid by an additional 3.8 billion euros ($4.13 billion) in 2024, according to a Reuters report from May 21, citing an anonymous source. While ten Leopard 1A5s may not be a game-changer in the Ukrainian conflict, the massive deployment of such tanks could help balance the forces, given that Ukraine has significantly fewer tanks at its disposal compared to Russia.


Previously, Germany had delivered 30 Leopard 1A5 tanks. The additional ten sent as of May 22 brings the total to 40 Leopard 1A5s. ( Picture Source: Ukrainian MoD)


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