Ukraine has been gifted a number of Leopard 1A5 tanks by Germany.
Ukraine has a new weapon in its fight against Russia – Cold War-era German battle tanks.
According to The New York Times, Germany sent 10 of the obsolete Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine last month.
The tanks entered service in 1965 and were last used by the German army in 2000.
Ukraine has a new weapon in its fight against Russia — Cold War-era German battle tanks.
According to The New York Times, Germany sent 10 decommissioned Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine last month.
The tank was designed by Porsche – more well-known for luxury cars – and manufactured by Krauss-Maffei in West Germany.
The Leopard tank entered service in 1965 and was last deployed by the German army in 2000. The 1A5 is a model developed in the 1980s.
Since then, many of the German tanks have been stored in warehouses across Europe until the German government approved in February for them to be donated to Ukraine.
More than 100 are to be donated once they are refurbished, according to the Times.
A Ukrainian tank crew receives training on the maintenance of Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks at a military training ground of the Bundeswehr on May 05, 2023 near Klietz, Germany.
Despite its age, experts and German officials told the Times that the Leopard 1A5 can be a useful weapon.
Brig. Gen. Andreas Marlow, who oversees Germany’s training program for the Ukrainians, said that the model has night-vision capability, a weapons stabilization system, and it can be driven backward, which many of the other older battle tanks currently being used in Ukraine can’t.
Marlow said the Leopard 1A5 is also easier to master, maintain, and fix than its modern descendant, the Leopard 2A6.
“In the end, if someone is a professional, it doesn’t matter how old he is,” a Ukrainian tank commander identified only by his call sign, Bassist, told the Times.
Christian Mölling, a German Council on Foreign Relations military expert, said: “Those Leopard 1 tanks are really not a bad option.”
A Ukrainian tank crew stands next the Leopard 1A5 main battle tank.
Since February, Ukrainian tank crews have been training in Germany on operating the Leopard 1A5 and other major weapon systems it has donated to Ukraine.
The tank crews train six days a week for six weeks before returning to Ukraine.
According to the Times, Germany has now trained 6,300 of the 10,000 Ukrainian troops it plans for 2023.
Germany’s commitment is part of a broader EU pledge to train 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers by the end of 2023, according to The Brussels Times.