By Chris King • 07 June 2022 • 0:54
Image of Aspide anti-aircraft missile system.
More than 100 days after the conflict in Ukraine began, Spain is poised to deliver heavy weaponry to the Eastern European nation. The Ministry of Defense is already preparing the shipment of Aspide low-level anti-aircraft systems to the Kyiv authorities, reported El Pais yesterday, Sunday, June 5.
Spain has also apparently offered to send Leopard 2A4 tanks and will offer to instruct Ukrainian military personnel in the handling of these vehicles. This move comes less than one week after the Ukrainian ambassador to Spain criticised the government’s efforts in supplying military aid, famously declaring that what Spain had sent so far was ‘enough for two hours of fighting’.
The procedure for shipping this aid would be arranged with the allied body in Stuttgart, Germany, that coordinates all arms deliveries to Ukraine from the different countries.
The Aspide is a surface-to-air missile system developed in the 1970s by the Italian company Selenia – today known as MBDA. As reported by infodefensa.com, it was decommissioned by the Spanish Army at the end of 2020, after three decades in service. A more modern version, the Aspide 2000, is currently in service with the Spanish Air Force.
Delivery will also be facilitated for the 53 Leopard 2A4s that have been stored for some years ago in the facilities of the Logistics Support Group No. 41, on the Casetas industrial estate in Zaragoza. These tanks are part of the batch of 108 Leopards purchased from Germany. Initially, the plan was to transform them into a sapper vehicle, but the project was ultimately shelved due to a lack of funding.
Around 40 of these tanks could be overhauled and handed over to the Kyiv authorities believes the Ministry of Defence. It has to be remembered that these vehicles have remained practically untouched, without batteries and other main components. The other fleet of Leopard 2A4 tanks are still in service in the Ceuta and Melilla commands.
Ukrainian crews would also need training to operate these tanks. This, according to El Pais, citing Defence sources, would consist of two phases. The first would be carried out in Latvia, by Army personnel who operate half a dozen Leopard 2E in the Baltic country, as part of NATO’s Reinforced Forward Presence (EFP) mission. And, the second, in Spain.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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