Europe’s defence giants brace for surge in orders as tanks enter the theatre in Ukraine
According to Johann Michel, research analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Leopard 2 is an incredible success story.
Despite the fact that the number of Russian T-72 and T-90 tanks exported to India is dwarfing, he still remains the most popular tank in Europe, he said.
According to Ed Arnold, a European security fellow at RUSI, Western-made tanks are more likely to fire the decisive first shot in a tank battle, thanks to their thermal imaging sights.
According to Arnold, Leopards, French Leclercs and other new tanks have better armor and better designs than their Russian counterparts, meaning they are more likely to avoid the ammunition explosions that plague Russian models.
According to Arnold, “Leopard” is “the lion in your pack”, helping to break through in the attack on other tanks.
The Leopard 2 has already seen action in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Syria, but not in Europe against Russia, for which it was designed.
The Leopard 2, Leclerc, Challenger 2 and M1 Abrams were developed during different stages of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was considered the main enemy of the Western Allies. France has yet to offer Leclerc, but Macron is under pressure to do so.
Rheinmetall, which was reached for comment, said this week that it could supply Ukraine with 139 Leopard tanks if needed, including 51 of the latest modifications next year and 88 older Mark-1 tanks.
Thousands of Leopard 2s are in use across Europe, with customers including Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and Spain.
Among the buyers are also former members of the Warsaw Pact, such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Germany, Turkey, Spain and Greece are the largest owners, each with over 300 people.