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Spanish Ministry of Defense to Supply 19 More Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine

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Spanish Ministry of Defense to Supply 19 More Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine

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Spanish Ministry of Defense to Supply 19 More Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine
Spanish Ministry of Defense to Supply 19 More Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine

The Spanish Ministry of Defense has chosen General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) Santa Bárbara Sistemas for the overhaul and commissioning in operational condition of 19 of Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks, which will be sent to Ukraine and will join the ten operational units in the area to strengthen its defensive capability against the Russian invasion. At factory in Alcalá de Guadaira (Seville), work will be carried out to determine the condition of these vehicles, which come from the Spanish Army facilities. The Spanish Ministry of Defense had not published the contracts for the retrofits out of secrecy.

On 23 February Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez confirmed during a visit to Kyiv that Spain was sending at least 10 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Spanish authorities have confirmed that these 19 Leopard 2A4 tanks will be sourced from the resources of the Spanish Armed Forces. Each unit will be subjected to a thorough overhaul, component disassembly, replacement of defective parts and assembly of systems, ensuring its full operation and effectiveness on the battlefield. This is the second batch of vehicles provided by the Government of Spain to Ukraine, which shows Spanish solidarity and commitment to the defense of sovereignty and international security.

Five were sent to the Santa Bárbara Sistemas plant in Alcalá de Guadaira and six had already been moved to Seville for diagnostics and repairs.
Five were sent to the Santa Bárbara Sistemas plant in Alcalá de Guadaira and six had already been moved to Seville for diagnostics and repairs. (Photo by GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas)

The Leopard 2 is a third generation German main battle tank (MBT). The most widespread version of the Leopard 2 family, the 2A4 models included more substantial changes, including an automated fire and explosion suppression system, an all-digital fire control system able to handle new ammunition types, and an improved turret with flat titanium/tungsten armour. The Leopard 2s were manufactured in eight batches between 1985 and 1992. Spain initially leased 109 Leopard 2A4 tanks, after Krauss-Maffei withdrew from the Lince development, a special lighter version of the Leopard 2 developed together with Santa Bárbara Sistemas.

Ukraine had reportedly received 71 Leopard 2A4 from NATO-member countries. On 4 June 2022 it was reported that Spain was considering providing 40 of its 53 retired Leopard 2A4 tanks stored in Zaragoza. On 8 June German Chancellor Olaf Scholz denied receiving any formal request from Spain for an export permit for Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. However it was later confirmed on 10 June by the Spanish defense minister they were considering the transfer. On 5 February 2023, it was reported that at least 11 of the 53 tanks stored at Zaragoza had been drawn out of storage to be refurbished and upgraded to have “the same lethality” as modern versions of the Leopard 2 before being sent to Ukraine.

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