Canadian Army Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks En Route to Ukraine
Canadian Army Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks En Route to Ukraine

Canadian Army Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks En Route to Ukraine

The Canadian Minister of National Defence Anita Anand has published video footage of a Canadian Leopard 2 main battle tank being loaded onto a Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 aircraft at an airport. One hundred Canadian soldiers had to coordinate a complex transport operation in less than two weeks. Following Germany’s long-debated and awaited decision on January 25 to green-light the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine. The Canadian Forces refuse to say where the C-17 will land for security reasons. The operation is a race against time, as Ukrainian soldiers fear a major Russian offensive in the coming weeks.

The Canadian Armed Forces has been assisting with the delivery of military aid for Ukraine within Europe from Canada and on behalf of Allies and partners, transporting over six million pounds of military donations to date. Canada has committed over $5 billion in direct financial, military, humanitarian, and other assistance to Ukraine. This includes over 200 Senator Armoured Personnel Carriers, a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) with associated munitions, 39 armoured combat support vehicles, anti-tank weapons, small arms, M777 Howitzers and associated ammunition, high-resolution drone cameras, and more.

Canadian Leopard 2 tanks 'en route' to Ukraine as troops prepare for suspected Moscow attacks.
Canadian Army Leopard 2 main battle tanks ‘en route’ to Ukraine as troops prepare for suspected Moscow attacks. (Photo by Canadian Defence Ministy)

The tank donation responds to Ukraine’s urgent request for tanks – a call that was reiterated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov at last meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany. Canada’s donation is also the result of extensive coordination with Allies and partners, who are also planning to donate Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, among other Western battle tanks. The Minister also announced that Canada will provide ammunition, spare parts, and will deploy Canadian Armed Forces members to train Ukrainian soldiers on the use of these tanks in a third country.

The Leopard 2 is a third generation German main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s. Various iterations of the Leopard 2 continue to be operated by the armed forces of Germany, as well as 13 other European countries, and several non-European states around the world. Canada bought 12 2A4s/Pz 87 from Switzerland for the ‘Force Mobility Enhancement’ project which, along with the remaining unused ex-Dutch tanks, saw 18 converted to Armoured Engineering Vehicles and 4 converted to Armoured Recovery Vehicles. Canada has also purchased 15 2A4s from Germany as Logistic Stock Vehicles. Canada purchased 20 Leopard 2A6s from the Netherlands.

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